“We moved from 37 deaths at the end of July to where we are today, 47 deaths. Mr Speaker, COVID-19 is real,” Hon Malone said during a presentation at the First Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
The Minister said persons continue to be sick and refuse to report their cases to the local public health department, opting rather to self-isolate.
“Or worst yet,” Hon Malone added, “Persons are out in the community feeling sick like a dog but they don't want to stay home or have anyone to tell them to stay home,” he added.
As such, the Health Minister illustrated that there are real-world discrepancies with the number of reported cases and the actual figures on the ground in the territory.
“If persons were to really stay home, self-isolate then that would not be too bad… but you have persons who are reporting to work… because at the end of the day there are families to be fed, there are mouths to be fed,” he said.
According to the Minister, even with the situation in the territory, persons have taken it upon themselves to advertise one of the biggest ‘crowd gathering’ artists to come to the VI in February.
“And when you tell them that they can’t do it, they tell you that you are trying to stop livelihoods,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hon Malone said the Government continues to grapple with infections in the public sector.
“We have a situation that we are dealing with in the prison, 22-23 officers down, 16 inmates down and we have to deal with that,” he said in terms of managing the cases at the facility.
The Health Minister added that cases are also present in some care homes for the elderly, “we have to be mindful and careful that we provide healthy living spaces,” he added.