FROM H.E. THE GOVERNOR AND THE HON. PREMIER
The Governor and I continue to pray for your safety and wellbeing. We appreciate these are difficult times and the long weekend would have been particularly challenging for all. We would like to thank you for your continued support for the public health measures in place.
We are committed to keeping you informed of the facts as they relate to the current position. This morning, 4 May, a special virtual session of Executive Council was held with the Permanent Secretary for Health, Chief Medical Officer and the Commissioner of Police in attendance.
Cases – As of 1200 on 4 May, there are a total of 65 persons who have tested positive linked to the cluster of COVID-19 cases first identified on 21 April. These include 64 detected locally and 1 case detected in the UK – an Anguillian resident who left Anguilla on 19 April and was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on 21 April. Three males have been hospitalized for varying degrees of respiratory distress. None of the three persons have been fully vaccinated. One had not been vaccinated at all. The other two were recently vaccinated with their first dose.
Since 22 April, aggressive contact tracing has led to more than 1,450 persons being tested for COVID-19. Thankfully no additional cases have been recorded since Thursday 29 April. This is positive news. But we must not be complacent and contact tracing is ongoing and will only end when no more additional positives are confirmed from the cluster. The majority of positive cases and their quarantined contacts from the cluster are due for Day 14 testing this weekend.
Public Health measures – Based on the advice of the Health Team and the latest epidemiological situation, Executive Council is working to relax where possible the restrictive measures currently in place, in particular as they relate to those of you who are vaccinated. Confirmation on next steps will be provided after Executive Council meets again this Thursday, 6 May.
But for now, in order to maintain protections for all, you should:
Borders– It is unlikely that we will reopen our borders for entry for either visitors or returning residents before 21 May. To those residents who want to come home, we share your desire to return as soon as possible. However, in the immediate term we need to prioritise and manage the increased testing and re-testing requirements of those residents on island, in addition to managing the heightened home quarantine numbers, live cases, and wider ongoing health care needs. We thank you for your understanding.
Enforcement-The Royal Anguilla Police Force, Immigration, and Customs are supporting the enforcement of the required public health measures. The Commissioner is reporting good levels of compliance.
Vessels in Anguilla’s waters – Joint sea patrols are continuing and will intercept boats before they arrive here, and are turning back any boats that have no legitimate reason to be on our waters. The general public remains the nation’s best eyes. We ask you to be vigilant and to report immediately to the authorities any boat movements so that action can be taken promptly.
Vaccination programme – The vaccination of the population remains critical, and people should continue to get their jabs. As of 3 May nearly 7,000 people had received their first dose. 2,811 people have now received their second dose.
We are encouraged that since 21 April there has been a significant rise in the number of first doses administered. This momentum must be maintained. Adults under 49 years old remain our most unvaccinated group. It is imperative for the protection of yourself, your family and others that you get vaccinated. It will also enable you to participate in greater activities as part of our wider exit strategy. Please get your first jab by 15 May so that we can be sure to use all doses on island before they expire.
Playing your part –the steps we have all been taking will continue to keep us safe. So once again, we urge you all to take the simple steps that save lives:
The latest information and guidance can be found at www.beatcovid19.ai Let us remind you again of the Ministry of Health hotline on COVID-19. The number is 1-264-476-7627 that is 476 SOAP, or 1-264-584-4263, that is 584-HAND. The impact of COVID-19 is on all our minds.
The challenges of the stay at home measures and concerns about the health of our loved ones are a reality across all communities. However, the public health measures in place are critical to our response in containing the current situation. The mental health and psycho-social support hotline can be called at any hour at 7233 or SAFE for anyone who may need support at this time.
Please continue to follow the public health measures. The Premier and I will provide details of the planned next steps to the public health response on Thursday 6 May.
Thank you and may God continue to bless Anguilla.