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Gov't May Relax COVID-19 Entry Measures

Gov't May Relax COVID-19 Entry Measures

The Government has signalled its intent to at least review and possibly relax the current Covid-19 measures provided that there is widespread vaccination of residents.
Minister of Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone told the House of Assembly on March 10 that it is exceedingly important for as many persons as possible to be vaccinated as quickly as possible so that the Territory can move and reap the benefits of vaccination.

"We are aware of the concept of herd immunity where if we have sufficient persons vaccinated, we will interrupt the ability of COVID to be transmitted through our population," the Minister stated.

Further, Minister Malone added, "Widespread vaccination within the Territory will also allow us to seriously review our current protocols and look at less onerous entry measures. This even more that we begin to look to advance the process of the re-opening of our ocean borders on 15th April. The U.S. CDC [Center for Disease Control] has already recommended that persons who are vaccinated do not need to quarantine after potential exposure to the Coronavirus and also that vaccinated persons can gather in small settings without masks and other measures."

He explained to the House that the first dose of vaccine affords very high efficacy against COVID of the order of 76% in the short term against symptomatic COVID and 63.9% when including both asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID.

"We are also aware that the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine reduces infectiousness by as much as 67% and has also led to dramatic reductions of hospitalisation in the UK of over 80% and as high with just under 20 million persons out of approximately 60 million population having been vaccinated," the Minister shared.

Using the Community vaccination approach, Hon. Malone stated that the Territory has been able to achieve between 500 to 600 vaccinations per day, with the exception of the days that the programme was placed on hold, due to concerns with the delay of the arrival of the second shipment of AstraZeneca from the United Kingdom, and the need to ensure that persons having done their first inoculation would be assured of the availability of the second dose.

As of March 10th, 5,031 vaccinations were carried out in the Territory. Some 4,113 individuals on Tortola; 770 on Virgin Gorda; 68 on Anegada; and 80 on Jost van Dyke.

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