"This is not a time for selfishness – it is not a time for overly panicking or fear. It is a time for community spirit, not shopping more than you need; not spreading social media fear, and not thinking you are invincible or can't spread this virus."
These are the words of Governor Augustus Jaspert in a solemn message to the people of the British Virgin Islands on Wednesday, following the announcement that there are two confirmed cases of the dreaded Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the territory.
Governor Jaspert said residents must also unite to fight the virus that has been confirmed in nearly every country across the globe and claimed more than 20,000 lives since its arrival in China in December.
"We can't see this disease, but we know that you can help stop being a chain to spread it. Your actions can help protect us all, and in particular our most vulnerable and elderly in the community. For all of the public and all of us, this a time to remain calm and to come together, not physically though, but in our resolve as a community," he added.
Symptoms May Be Mild
Meanwhile, in an attempt to decrease public fear, the Governor said the majority of infected persons in the territory "may only get mild symptoms if they contract COVID-19, but some may be more seriously impacted."
"This is why it is so important to follow the measures to look after all of us, to look after our elderly, to look after those with underlying health issues, please do follow all of the advice. The measures we are taking through Cabinet are taking have been driven by one motivation; to protect you and to protect the overall population of the territory," the Governor stated.
You Can Fight This
The Governor also sought to remind residents of their resilience in the aftermath of the 2017 weather events.
"As we saw in 2017, this territory is highly capable of responding to crises when we work together. But this crisis is different and we must respond accordingly. It is global and it will be sustained. The world will change in a way that it wouldn't had it not occurred. For now: Whoever you are on in the territory: old or young; citizen, resident or visitor; whichever Island you live on; whatever your ethnicity; however you make your living; whether you are rich or poor, this impacts us all equally," the Governor stated.
He added, "We are about to go through one shared experience. How we get through and come out the other end will almost entirely depend on your sense of selfishness and your civic duty; it will depend on your sense of community spirit."