Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Friday, 14 February 2020 - 5:01pm

Officials at the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the Environmental Health Division are reassuring the public on port health in relation to cruise ship clearance protocol.

As it relates to the current Novel Coronavirus and the public concern, the following preventive and control measures are being undertaken to respond to any threats of 2019-nCoV by the Ministry of Health and Social Development, BVI Health Services Authority and other relevant stakeholders.

As part of the port health programme and in keeping with the International Health Regulations (2005), the Environmental Health Division receives the Maritime Declaration of Health, Ship Sanitation Control Certificate, passenger and crew list, and other relevant documents 12 to 24 hours prior to all cruise ships arriving in the British Virgin Islands.

The Maritime Declaration of Health declares the health of all passengers and crew on board the ship. Health Officials assess the Maritime Declaration of Health and if there are any issues on the documents, they must be rectified and/or Environmental Health Officers board the ship at the pilot station to further assess the situation on board before the vessel can be cleared.

Additionally, the British Virgin Islands was informed by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) that comprehensive control and pre-cautionary measures are being taken by the cruise industry which includes but is not limited to:

  • Pre-boarding health screening of cruise passengers during check-in
  • Increased surveillance of influenza like symptoms on the cruise ship
  • Increased environmental sanitation measures
  • Cruise ships must notify the Territory of any illnesses on board as outlined in the International Health Regulations (2005)
  • Scanned body temperature of all local authorities, pilots, port agents, ground operator staff, etc. prior to boarding ship

For more information, please contact the Ministry of Health and Social Development at 468-7742/468-5110 or visit the Government of the Virgin Islands website at or the Environmental Health Division’s Facebook page.

For more information or to alert us of possible cases please contact the Ministry of Health at 468-2274 or Environmental Health at 468-5110.


Adrianna J. Soverall

Ministry of Health and Social Development
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Telephone: 1(284)468-2272 or 2174