Rapid antigen testing is now officially part of the Territory’s COVID 19 screening process. This alternative coronavirus testing option was rolled out on Friday, July 23, 2021, at the Road Town Ferry terminal.
Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone (AL) was onsite to witness the rollout; and announced that he is happy that the Territory is finally able to offer a faster COVID
testing option. He said that he welcomes the implementation of rapid tests because it is a great addition to the current offering. “It will save lives, save hospitalizations; and save the anguish that families are going through.”
The Minister of Health announced that only approved antigen tests will be used by the Ministry and by extension the BVI Health Services Authority. “We have a supply of antigen tests and we are going to administer them at the airport, and at the seaports.”
In addition to these new rapid tests, Hon. Malone said that efforts are going to continue to make arrival to the Territory during this COVID
era seamless. “We’re seeking out ways in which we can get it done -- even beyond the 15 minutes so that you could be in out. We have to make sure that when persons come into the society that they are also deemed safe. This is what this is all about, without too much of the inconvenience.”
Senior Medical Officer Dr Shaun Ramroop explained that only vaccinated travelers will be able to use the rapid tests. He noted, “When you arrive at the desk a determination will be made as to your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated you will get a number. That number will be written on your test card and we will do a rapid antigen test. Then in 15 minutes time, you will be informed of the results. If you test negative you are allowed to move through the process of Immigration and Customs. If you test positive, then you will have a PCR confirmation test done.”
Dr Ramroop also explained that persons who are given a PCR test will be informed of their test results using public health measures.
The rapid tests currently being used at the VI ports of entry are the same being utilised in the USVI. The VI’s current stock of tests includes some that were gifted by the USVI and the United Kingdom (15,000). The remaining quantity (15000) was purchased by the government of the VI.
The United States Virgin Islands sent COVID
support personnel to the Territory last week to help with the laboratory and the antigen tests.