(BVI NEWS) – Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO) Lionel Michael has said temperature scanning will be added to the screening process at all local ports of entry as an additional precautionary measure against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Speaking at a recent airing of the Honestly Speaking with Claude Skelton Cline radio programme, Michael said this new procedure is expected to commence by this weekend.
He further said all persons entering the territory will be subject to the new screening process.
The CEHO also explained that the equipment which is scheduled to arrive in the territory Wednesday, March 11, will be used to measure the body temperature of an individual by pointing the device at their forehead, without having to physically touch them.
Forms and temperature devices to work together
He also said that the temperature testing will be used to complement the mandatory forms which persons entering the territory must also fill out.
“We have a screening process taking place at the ports of entry, and each passenger coming off of a boat or aircraft must fill out one of these forms. It’s three questions that must be filled out and depending on how you answer, we take further actions,” Michael explained.
“The temperature scanning by itself is not really so effective, so we are going to put them together,” he stated.
Forms also used to protect immigration officials
The CEHO also said that the filling out of the form is done before a traveler proceeds to an Immigration official, which is safeguard measure to protect local workers from having to directly interact with a person who may have been at high risk of contracting the virus.
He said: “The Ministry of Health is protecting Immigration, and so depending on what is here (filled out on the form) we either pull you out of the line or allow you to go through.”
Virus on the rise
Cases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 continues to increase daily, now nearing the territory with several cases confirmed in the region. So far Jamaica, St. Martin, Dominican Republic, Martinique, French Guiana and Saint Barthelemy have all reported confirmed cases of the virus.
The United States has reported more than 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus, while the United Kingdom’s total nears almost 400 cases.