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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, December 10, 2023
HomeNewsLocal newsHealth Commissioner Urges V.I. to Avoid Non-Essential Travel

Health Commissioner Urges V.I. to Avoid Non-Essential Travel

Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion testifies online during Monday’s hearing. (V.I. Legislature photo)

Department of Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion urged Virgin Islanders to avoid non-essential travel amid concerns of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. mainland.

In a news release issued on Sunday, Encarnacion said travel increases a person’s chance of getting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others, DOH officials said.

The department acknowledged that some individuals must travel for essential reasons and said anyone who must travel will be referred to a local lab for testing three to five days after their return. The traveler will be placed in quarantine until receiving their results.

The department reminded people who are considering travel for any reason to follow basic precautions to stay safe from coronavirus.
– Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
– Avoid close contact by staying at least six feet apart from anyone you do not live with.
– Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
– Avoid contact with anyone who is sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

All travelers to the U.S. Virgin Islands aged 5 and older must produce either a negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result taken within five days prior to travel or a positive COVID-19 antibody test result taken within four months prior to travel to the USVI, the news release said.

Every traveler aged 5 and older must use the USVI travel portal before travel.

Children four years of age or younger are exempt from this testing requirement.

Encarnacion said it is critical that testing be conducted before arriving to the Virgin Islands, as the safety of residents and visitors to the territory “is our highest priority.”

Health officials said there is a five-day window to take a test prior to travel. The availability of tests varies from location to location, so prospective travelers who are required to present test results are encouraged to plan their testing to meet the required five-day window prior to travel to the USVI. Test results from a test taken outside of the five-day window do not meet the requirements, the Health news release said. If for some reason travelers are unable to produce the required test result, they will be subject to quarantine for 14 days or until they are able to receive the required test results while in the territory.

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