Fully vaccinated travelers with a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen Test conducted within 48-hours prior to arrival into the British Virgin Islands, will no longer be subjected to the previously mandatory rapid test at any of the territory’s ports of entry.

This is according to the COVID-19 Control and Suppression (Entry of Persons) (No. 3) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations, 2021 which was published in the government’s Official Gazette on Tuesday November 16.

Section 5A of the Act outlines the new measures that all fully vaccinated travelers will now abide by.  

It states, “A person who is fully vaccinated and presents a RT PCR or approved rapid antigen SARS CoV-2 negative test result taken no later than forty-eight hours before arrival in the Territory and his or her vaccination card in accordance with regulation 5 shall (a) not be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival into the Territory; and (b) be allowed to move freely within the territory, subject to adhering to the relevant COVID-19 enactments and protocols in the territory, including the relevant physical distancing protocols, wearing of masks and sanitisation measures.”

Some residents confused

Following the publication of the new regulation, some residents took to social media stating that they did not quite understand what the rule change meant.

According to some of the comments, their confusion stemmed from the uncertainty as to whether this change now meant that only tests conducted within 48 hours will be the only tests approved for entry into the BVI.

Others queried what is the stance for those persons who have already taken their tests within the original five-day period, and have already commenced their journey to the territory.

Minister Malone explains

Our news station reached out to the Minister of Health Carvin Malone, who clarified the new policy which came into effect from today November 16.

He said the policy in summary is to benefit those fully vaccinated travelers who take their test 48-hours prior to arrival in the BVI, as they are the ones who will be exempted from taking a rapid test when arriving in the BVI, therefore saving themselves from having to pay the $50 rapid test fee.

“If you’re not vaccinated you still have to do the PCR test and it’s still within the five-day period, however, if you’re fully vaccinated and you do an antigen test within 48-hours and you come into the territory, you would not be required to do a rapid test on arrival into the territory. So it is to facilitate those persons who are fully vaccinated coming into the territory,” Malone stated.

He added, “In order to be exempt from taking the test on arrival, they would have to take the rapid test from an approved WHO manufacturer within 48-hours and would be allowed to enter and not be subjected to a test on arrival. But if you’re not vaccinated or if you’re partially vaccinated, you’re still subjected to the PCR test and quarantine within the particular period.”

Persons without proof or delayed trips will be subjected to rapid test on arrival

Section 5A (2), further explained that fully vaccinated persons who test 48-hour prior to arrival into the BVI but then lose proof of their testing date or unfortunately experience a delay in their flight, will be made to take a rapid test on arrival into the territory.

It stated, “A person who would have obtained his or her RT PCR or approved rapid antigen SARS CoV-2 negative test result taken no later than forty-eight hours before arrival in the territory in accordance with subregulation (1), but is unable to present the results to enter the territory within the forty-eight hours’ time period, for reasons such as delays and overnight layovers, shall be required to undertake a rapid antigen SARS CoV-2 test on the day of arrival in the territory.”