STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
DURING THE FIFTH SITTING OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
Thursday, 20th February, 2020
Coronavirus Virus: BVI Overseas Offices and Employees
Mister Speaker, I will now inform this Honourable House on the Impact of the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak on BVI Overseas Offices and Employees.
Mister Speaker, I thank the Honourable Minister for Health and Social Development and his team for keeping the public informed about the status of the virus and how the Territory is mitigating the risks associated with its outbreak.
Mister Speaker, I thought it important to provide an update on how our overseas offices and our overseas employees are coping with the outbreak and the measures we are taking to protect their well-being, particularly in our Hong Kong Office.
Mister Speaker, the Premier’s Office and the Financial Services Commission maintain regular contact with our employees stationed in Hong Kong at our BVI House Asia where the Government and the Commission maintain offices.
We conduct regular wellness checks to ensure that the employees are safe and to provide any assistance they need.
Since the outbreak of the Novel Corona virus, the Government of the Virgin Islands has strictly adhered to the recommendations and policies of the Hong Kong authorities to ensure the safety of the staff and office premises at BVI House Asia. This included, following the recommendation for working remotely from home, and the suspension of Government services at our Hong Kong location, which expired on February 9.
Since February 10, BVI House Asia continues to adhere strictly to the recommendations of the authorities by offering limited Government services working out of office remotely and only entering the office two days in the week during non-peak travel times to conduct essential functions.
Mister Speaker, as recent as this week, Hong Kong’s governing Authorities have re-imposed a closure of government offices in lieu of remote services, strongly recommending the private sector to follow suit until the authorities issue new guidance.
BVI House Asia will adhere strictly to the recommendations of the authorities, only entering the office at limited periods to access essential documents or services that cannot be accessed remotely.
All precautions are being taken to ensure the safety and health of the staff and safety of the office premises. Employees are provided with private car services to avoid the usage of public transportation. Office access is undertaken only during non-peak hours.
The Premier’s Office and the Financial Services Commission will continue to monitor the situation at BVI House Asia in Hong Kong and do all that is necessary to protect the health and well-being of our employees.
Our overseas offices in the USA and London, at this time, are not at any undue risk as a result of the Novel Corona virus.
I thank you.