As detailed by the Chief Medical Officer in her press release yesterday, 18 August, there are 22 confirmed active cases of Covid-19 currently on island, which includes two separate workplace clusters and 16 new positive cases since 16 August. Let me reassure you that while in some cases the source of the infection has not been identified, investigations are continuing and contact tracing is ongoing.
Thankfully, of the new cases, there have been no hospitalisations, persons are either asymptomatic or reporting mild symptoms ranging from headaches, scratchy throat, coughs and muscle aches. Additionally, in general persons are recovering quickly. This is a change to the last cluster of cases in April and testament to the efficacy of the vaccine, demonstrating vaccination remains the most effective measure to protecting your individual health and the health of our nation.
The workplace settings where the cluster of cases have occurred are indoor, poorly ventilated, and relatively small locations. It is therefore vitally important that in all indoor settings, particularly where persons are gathering, everyone observes social distancing and wears a mask. It is important to note the requirement to wear masks indoors is currently part of the Covid-19 health regulations – breach of this is an offence and subject to a fine of EC$2,500 per violation.
Act quickly. If you are feeling unwell isolate and if necessary contact the Ministry of Health. Employers, we ask that if your employees are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 that you take the necessary steps to protect the individual and your wider workforce.
The measures we have in place remain key to us being able to quickly identify and isolate people and then conduct track and trace investigations. We would like to once again place on record our thanks to our dedicated health teams for their continued hard work to keep us all safe.
We would also like to remind you that with effect from 16 August:
all returning vaccinated residents are subject to a quarantine period of four (4) days; and
all returning resident unvaccinated minors will quarantine for a period of ten (10) days regardless
of the vaccination status of parents and guardians. This is in keeping with current evidence that younger persons are now being impacted by the Delta variant, which is much more infectious than other strains.
However, in light of these new cases and the epidemiological situation, today, 19 August, Executive Council has agreed additional measures which will further strengthen our entry protocols and enhance our ability to manage the risks of Covid-19 and protect you.
From 23 August, the following additional measures will be in place for all those arriving as visitors and business visitors:
Vaccinated visitors staying within the community/within Anguillian households will be required to quarantine for four (4) days and will be tested out of quarantine;
Long-stay vaccinated visitors (seven plus days) who intend to stay in the community in residences or villas will be required to quarantine for four (4) days and will be tested out of quarantine;
Long-stay vaccinated visitors (seven plus days) staying in hotels will be tested on the fourth day of their stay but will not be required to quarantine; and
Fully vaccinated technicians and short-term critical business visitors will be required to quarantine for four (4) days, or operate in a Ministry of Health approved “work bubble” until cleared.
Executive Council also reviewed the ‘Table of steps towards the Exit Strategy’ last updated and published on 6 May 2021. Again based on the epidemiological situation, Council agreed the following amendments to the Exit Strategy:
From 1 September (Phase 2) the quarantine period for unvaccinated residents will remain at 10 days, and not reduce to 7 days as previously indicated; and
From 1 October (Phase 3) all arrivals will need to continue to apply through the portal for entry in to Anguilla and will be expected to comply with the health measures in place.
Playing your part
The steps we have all been taking will continue to help keep us safe and save lives. So once again, we urge you all to take the simple steps:
wash your hands frequently;
cover coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, or in the crook of a flexed elbow;
frequently clean and disinfect shared spaces and work surfaces; and
avoid contact with persons suffering from or exhibiting symptoms of acute respiratory infections such as the flu, coughs, and colds.
Let us remind you 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 Ministry of Health will publish guidance and information at www.beatcovid19.ai May God bless you and may God continue to bless Anguilla.