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MINISTER OF HEALTH: 90% of the BVI Could Become Infected With COVID-19

ROAD TOWN, Tortola — Statistics from the Epidemiology Unit indicate that if social distancing measures are not properly followed in the British Virgin Islands, nearly 90 percent of its population could become infected with COVID-19 within a three-month period.

BVI Minister for Health Carvin Malone cited the statistics during a live radio broadcast on Tuesday.

Malone said those statistics — which is the result of an investigation carried out by the Epidemiology Unit — were vital in government’s decision to introduce a new curfew that will run for an additional 14 days.

He said the analysis of how the virus spreads allowed government to surmise that local coronavirus cases could rise rapidly if they were to lift the curfew altogether

“It was estimated that in 12 to 15 days, 10.5 to 12 percent of the population would be affected by COVID-19 if it goes unchecked,” Malone said. “This equates to close to 3,750 persons if it goes unchecked. If the measures are not properly taken, or not adhered to — if left unchecked — calculations show that in 90 days, 89.8 percent of the population would be infected.”

The BVI health minister explained how the virus is spread.

“Each [infected] persons can pass on to two to three others who then spread it to the next two to three persons, such that a single case quickly leads to hundreds,” he told BVI News. “This trend has been seen in the Caribbean, especially in the neighbouring islands.”

Social Distancing reduces spread by almost 85%

Malone also said that data showed when social distancing was implemented for a period of 15 days — with the assumption of a 95 percent decrease in social contact between persons — an approximate 85 percent reduction in disease transmission was seen.

“This reduction could be a consequence of those persons infected within the period of 9 to 23rd March 2020 having recovered or out of the infectious stage; with only the second, or in some cases third, generation remaining infected,” the minister said while citing statistics

“Extension of the territorial shut down would facilitate recovery in a percentage of those second and tertiary contacts, reducing the number of still infected contacts circulating in the population when the shutdown is lifted,” the Minister further explained.

Curfews and Social Distancing measures needed now and not later

Malone said it was necessary that government implement these various COVID-19 measures, despite only having three cases.

He, therefore, urged residents and businesses to continue to adhere to the temporary restrictions in place, to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 transmissions in the population.


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