Amid the current upsurge of coronavirus cases locally, several persons have complained of having to make revised travel arrangements while others said they’ve missed flights altogether because of the late delivery of their test results.
During the governing Virgin Islands Party Let’s Talk radio show on July 20, Malone said health officials, who are reportedly overwhelmed, are working hard to correct this challenge and will make the necessary adjustments to prevent any further inconveniences to the travelling public or to persons who were similarly affected.
“We have turned out 13,500 results. Some of them have caused people to miss their flights. We sincerely apologise for that,” the Health Minister said.
Malone also said rapid tests are expected to be deployed at the local airport and seaports shortly.
The minister explained that there are some 30,000 rapid test kits “sitting right now” and said these should have been made available sooner but his team is still working on a strategy on how to best implement it.
He said it is important that the integrity of the process remains intact. Otherwise, persons travelling from the BVI would experience ramifications in the long term.
Meanwhile, government’s challenge to release results sooner have come at a time when the US Virgin Islands amended its travel protocols to require persons leaving the BVI to provide negative COVID-19 test results at least 48 hours before departure.
This has raised questions about whether the local hospital has the capacity to facilitate this change.
The BVIHSA recently issued a call for retired health professionals to assist the team at the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital and a request for volunteers has also been circulated to help abate the challenges faced by health officials.
Just recently, the Health Ministry made it clear that the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital was the only facility authorised to conduct COVID tests. The ministry later said it was working with the management of Eureka to bring their PCR testing capacity online in a “safe and effective manner”.