COVID-19: Strict Enforcement Of Measures - Health Minster Warns
Citing various pieces of legislation, Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Carvin Malone said measures would be taken by himself, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) or the Chief Medical Officer if the British Virgin Islands is in any way threatened during this Novel Coronavirus epidemic.
Hon Malone said during a press conference on Tuesday night at the House of Assembly in Road Town; it is in an attempt to “make sure that the entire Territory remains safe.”
He explained: “There are guiding principles that we have looked at and this entire exercise is guided by the Public Health Ordinance, is governed by the Quarantine Act, and the Infectious Notification Act.”
Minister Malone stated, under the Public Health Ordinance, the Minister has the power to prohibit the assembly of persons, order the closure of public places or schools and to enter to determine that all that is provided for in the Act for the safety of the Territory is maintained.
“Every member of the police force shall enforce compliance with this (Quarantine) Act and for such purpose, any member of the force may board any vessel or aircraft and may enter any premises without a warrant,” he remarked.
The Health Minister said it is important to note that all will be done to keep this Territory safe, safeguard lives, safeguard properties and during this trying time the inconveniences is in the interest of all residents, visitors and all those that may be affected and may come into contact.
“Our best job is to make sure that no case is identified here because it did not occur,” he added.
In the meantime, Minister Malone said, it is also noteworthy, that as Minster his function under the Public Health Ordinance is primarily for the prevention, treatment, limitation and suppression of diseases.
“In the Act, it states that except the Minister may otherwise direct the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), [he] shall discharge the function of the Minister and … doing what is required to impart safe health to the nation.”
He added, “At any point that the country appears to be threatened, affected with or by any communicable disease of epidemic proportion that measures apart from or in addition to those specifically provided in the Ordinance shall be taken promptly. The minster may thereby order, published in the gazette, direct the enforcement of any measures recommended or any measures that are deemed appropriate.”