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New customs clearance procedures will be implemented from this Friday, in Government’s ongoing quest to strengthen its effort to mitigate the impact of the dreaded Swine Flu (H1N1) virus on the Territory.

After consultations by the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the local Pandemic Influenza Taskforce, Her Majesty’s Customs has issued an advisory to the boating community.

The advisory states that all customs clearance procedures for yachters or other non-commercial vessels will only be processed through three designated ports of entry. They are the Road Town and West End Ferry Terminals in Tortola and the Spanish Town Ferry Dock in Virgin Gorda.

Yachters wishing to dock on Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, or any other sister island are advised that they must clear customs at one of the designated locations. Comptroller of Her Majesty’s Customs Mr. Wade Smith said those precautionary measures will be in place until further notice.

Visitors who fail to comply with the new procedures may be charged with illegal entry into the Territory.

Meanwhile, cargo vessels docking in the Territory will continue to be processed at Port Purcell. However there will be additional screening and inspections by officers of the Environmental Health Department and the Department of Agriculture.

The decision to implement new procedures for clearing customs followed the World Health Organisation’s announcement that the global influenza pandemic alert has been increased from Phase 4 to the more serious Phase 5. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Irad Potter is also encouraging residents of the Territory to restrict unnecessary travel as much as they can amid the increased level of alert for a Swine Flu pandemic.

Several Government agencies have been working collaboratively to monitor Swine Flu reports since the outbreak began, in order to implement measures to safeguard the Territory from its potential impact. The local Pandemic Influenza Taskforce is jointly led by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Irad Potter, Chief Executive Officer of the BVI Health Services Authority Dr. Ronald Georges, Health Disaster Coordinator Mrs. Dawn Leonard, and Director of the Department of Disaster Management Ms. Sharleen DaBreo.


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