Speaking at a joint press conference on Tuesday, Fahie said local tests for COVID-19 will only be conducted using a strict protocol since testing kits are in scarce supply worldwide.
“In terms of ratio for the population, we do have, I would say, not ‘enough’ but a sufficient amount. But, I would also say that there is a protocol established for who will be tested because it’s not everyone that feels sick is going to be tested,” Premier Fahie stated.
“There are clear criteria of the symptoms that you have to be feeling in order to call in to be tested. So please understand that we are not testing everyone that says ‘I feel sick’. You must, when you call, have those clear criteria.”
Premier Fahie explained that the major impact of the coronavirus on other countries has pushed the global demand for testing kits to its peak. This means only a certain amount is being made available to the territory, he explained.
“There is no country in the world who has enough kits to deal with the entire population who wants to be tested. I want to put it into perspective for everyone,” Fahie reasoned.
The BVI has ordered more than 5,000 kits so far. Giving a breakdown of those numbers, the Premier said the territory had placed an initial order of 300 kits.
“We now have ordered 5,500 more and we have been told out of the one area [where] we ordered 5,000 kits that we are short of 1,000 just because of the heavy demand,” Fahie said.
“Public Health in the UK has also pledged 500 kits, so we have about 1,500 more kits on the way,” he further explained.
The Premier also appealed to residents not to leave their home if they start experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. He advised them to call the territory’s medical hotline (284-852-7650) for assistance.
“If you are experiencing those symptoms, please do not go to the hospital. Make sure that you call and have them come to you because if you go to the hospital or your local doctor, you’re endangering the patients that are there, the workers that are there, and you’re endangering the doctors themselves,” Premier Fahie said