Breaking: Anguilla Issues 14-Day Lockdown Order Just Days After Announcing COVID-19 Exit Strategy
Anguilla has announced that beginning at 23:59 today, April 22, 2021, the island will go into a mandatory lockdown for 14 days. This follows news from the Anguilla Ministry of Health that there are now three confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island.
On April 21, one case was confirmed from a resident with no apparent direct links to any imported case of the virus. Two additional persons associated with this case have now tested positive for the virus. All three people have been placed in isolation and the Ministry of Health has initiated “aggressive contract tracing” to identify others who may have come in contact with these individuals.
On April 19, 2021, a male tourist who arrived on the island on April 15 tested positive for COVID-19. His pre-arrival and arrival tests were both negative. It’s unknown how this person contracted the virus or if he transmitted it to the Anguilla residents who tested positive.
For the next 14 days the island will be on full lockdown, with residents being allowed to only leave if they provide essential services or to seek medical care, and to buy food or fuel.
This all comes just days after Anguilla announced their COVID-19 exit strategy, which loosened entry requirements as of April 12, 2021, for vaccinated visitors. That plan, which was aiming to completely remove the entry application beginning October 1, 2021, may now be in serious jeapordy. We’ll have to wait and see.
Here is the entire press release from the Governor’s office:
FROM H.E. THE GOVERNOR AND THE HON. PREMIER
We are committed to keeping you informed of the facts as they relate to Anguilla. Over the last 12 hours, there has been speculation about community spread of COVID on the island. It is of critical importance that we as the responsible authorities establish the facts to ensure appropriate measures and a proportionate response. The Ministry of Health has been working through the night to confirm the position. Executive Council met this morning and have agreed a series of measures.
Cases – Up to 20 April, Anguilla had 30 confirmed cases with one active imported case on island. On 21 April, a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in a symptomatic female resident of Anguilla who had no apparent direct links to any imported case of the virus. Linked to this case, two further persons have tested positive on the evening of 21 April.
In accordance with public health practices for containment and prevention of spread:
- All three persons who tested positive have been placed in isolation; and
- The Ministry of health and health Authority colleagues have initiated aggressive contact tracing to identify every individual who may have come into close contact with these three persons. All individuals thus identified will be placed under quarantine and tested.
Keeping Anguilla safe – in light of this development, Executive Council today agreed to implement the following measures. These will come into effect at 2359 today, 22 April, and will remain in force for 14 days in the first instance:
- All persons other than those providing essential services will be required to stay at home. You are permitted to leave your residence only to seek medical care, including vaccinations, to buy food or fuel. Please act responsibly and patriotically by staying at home;
- Non-essential workplaces will close;
- All public gatherings are prohibited. This includes the closure of churches, schools, nightclubs and bars.
- Restaurants and other food establishments are restricted to take-out services only. When customers are collecting food they should practice safe social distancing.
- Re-introduction of mandatory social distancing measures in spaces allowed to remain open including capacity limits and mask wearing recommended in spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
- Closure of ports to all incoming passengers with outgoing movements permitted.
- Restriction on visitors to residential facilities e.g. elderly care homes, prison, Zenaida Haven.
For the avoidance of doubt, unless you are an essential worker you should stay at home except to:
- Visit your doctor or pharmacy or to get vaccinated;
- Buy food or fuel;
- Make use of banking services; and
- Exercise outdoors for a period of not exceeding 90 minutes per day between the hours of 05:00am and 6:00pm.
These measures are under constant review. Should the Chief Medical Officer advise, and in line with our plan for escalating measures, they could be tightened.
Vaccination programme –The vaccination of the population remains critical, and as noted above, persons should continue to visit the vaccination sites to get their jabs. Further information will be released giving details of how we intend to increase capacity and ensure that persons are able to observe safe social distancing protocols.
Food and supplies – the shops remain open and are stocked. We ask you not to panic buy or hoard.
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:
- 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 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 Ministry of Health will publish guidance and information at www.beatcovid19.ai