FROM H.E. THE GOVERNOR AND THE HON. PREMIER
The Premier and I would like to update everyone on the current Covid-19 situation as discussed at the Executive Council meeting held earlier today, 10 June 2021.
We are pleased to be able to inform you that we continue to have no active cases of Covid-19 on the island. But as we have previously said, until at least 30 June 2021, physical distancing and mask-wearing requirements will remain in place; as will the restrictions to the movement of boats on our waters.
Covid-19 is close to home. In the last week, eight members of our senior men’s national football team who travelled to the Dominican Republic and Panama to fulfil World Cup qualifying fixtures have tested positive for Covid-19. Active cases in our nearest neighbours are increasing; in St Martin, there have sadly been seven Covid-19 related deaths since 20 May, including four in the last week. Here in Anguilla, the cluster of 78 cases we experienced in April demonstrated starkly just how quickly Covid-19 can spread and how severely health can be impacted. Out of the 78 cases, three individuals became critically ill and were hospitalised, one of whom almost died.
Nonetheless, the island needs to reopen – as of 1 July, the island will open to fully vaccinated visitors without requiring quarantine. It is inevitable that COVID-19 will re-enter Anguilla and there is a significant risk that it will spread if we have not reached herd immunity. Therefore, we need another 1,500 persons to register to get vaccinated.
A very real consequence of this is that individuals who are not vaccinated are at higher risk of becoming sick and requiring hospitalization. Unfortunately, there are limited isolation beds and ventilators available. Tough decisions will have to be made if capacity is exceeded, which is very likely. These are real scenarios that other countries are experiencing today.
It is not only our health that is at risk – we will not be able to sustain the economy – usual activities, critical infrastructure and workplaces will be shut down if there is a community spread such as the Royal Anguilla Police Force, Immigration, Customs, and schools.
Such an outbreak will mean further lockdowns, restriction of movement, and loss of productivity and income as was experienced with the recent cluster. The only way to protect against this is for enough of the population to be fully vaccinated.
First dose deadline
That’s why there is no time to waste – for our exit strategy, it is critical we reach herd immunity. All of us will know at least one person who is yet to be vaccinated. We appeal to you to help us to encourage them to go and get their first dose before Thursday 17 June. This date is important to allow the minimum amount of time required between the administration of the two doses for the vaccine to be effective before the vaccination doses we have on the island expire on 31 July.
Each day more and more destinations are making entry easier for those who are fully vaccinated; and like Anguilla, a number of destinations are likely to make vaccination a requirement for visitor entry. Proof of vaccination will make that travel easier.
Who should get vaccinated?
All eligible adults should get vaccinated. Of particular importance, are those of you who are in regular, day-to-day, contact with the general public and/or vulnerable people such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly. Examples of persons who fall into this category are hotel workers, taxi drivers, restaurant servers, hospital and care workers, entertainers, bank tellers, cashiers, store clerks, parents, educators, police, immigration, and customs officials.
We urge you to do your part to protect the vulnerable people in our community who cannot be vaccinated. The health team is operating drive-through vaccinations at the Ronald Webster Park for both first and second doses. They are open on Friday, Saturday 12 June and Tuesday to Thursday next week.
Please do your patriotic duty – get vaccinated.
Thank you and may God continue to bless Anguilla.
* Definition of fully vaccinated is three weeks after receiving your second dose.
Here's what we've been up to recently.