COVID-19 UPDATE

NOTICE TO STAFF - CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19)

CIRCULAR 01-2020

 

OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR

TO:                     ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS

 

FROM:              H.E. DEPUTY GOVERNOR

 

DATE:                March 18, 2020

 

SUBJECT:          NOTICE TO STAFF - CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19)[1]

                                

                                             

As you are aware, the Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 was officially declared by the World Health Organization on March 11th, 2020 as a pandemic and is expected to spread throughout major parts of the world.

 

We express our profound gratitude to all staff across the public service that have been actively working on our Coronavirus Response Team in particular the staff in the Ministry of Health that are leading on the front line.

 

As a part of our efforts to prevent and control the spread of the Coronavirus in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a number of steps have been taken which includes the institution of protective and control measures through the enactment of the Turks and Caicos Islands Public and Environmental Health (Control Measures) (COVID-19) Regulations, the Public and Environmental Health (Control and Suppression)(COVID-19) Regulations 2020 and Notices issued under the Public and Environmental Health Ordinance which all staff should familiarize themselves with at www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus.  These measures will be under continuous review with additional measures being added as necessary to prevent and control the spread of the Coronavirus.  Other measures will be implemented should we have cases of COVID-19 to contain the spread of the disease.

 

Kindly note that as your safety is of utmost importance to us, we ask that you continue to follow the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and other agencies in relation to proper hygiene and care.

 

All ministries and departments across government have been asked to ensure that their Business Continuity Plans[2] are immediately revised to implement necessary protocols to address the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that mechanisms are put into place to allow key functions and public services to continue and to safeguard staff should the islands at some point require certain shut down procedures on the advice of the Ministry of Health.  Until that time, work across government will continue in your functional areas.

 

If there is a need for an adjustment to your work plan based on health or other personal reasons, then I ask that this be communicated to your respective Permanent Secretary/Department Head and a revised work plan be agreed with your Ministry/Department and my office.

 

Payroll was facilitated on March 13th, 2020 which would have allowed persons to stock up on key essentials including vitamins and flu medicine as directed by the Ministry of Health and should also assist in childcare expenses due to the early closure of schools.

 

Our response to the Coronavirus will be continuously updated as necessary, however, as of Monday March 23rd, 2020 the following provisions will immediately apply across the public service:

 

  1. All official overseas travel is prohibited for the next 30 days – staff who are abroad on official travel should be asked to return to the islands;

 

  1. To ensure social distancing and restrict large gatherings, as advised by the Health officials, all training and workshops, with the exception of those related to the Coronavirus, will be suspended for the next 30 days;

 

  1. Personal leave for travel to the ‘Infected Countries’ listed in the Public and Environmental Health (Control Measures) (COVID 19) Regulations[3], is strictly prohibited.  The list of countries will be continuously updated and can be found on the government’s website www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus;

 

  1. Personal leave for the purpose of cruising is strictly prohibited as per the advice of Health officials in accordance with the CDC; and 

 

  1. Staff are being asked to avoid all non-essential travel at this time.  

 

These measures will remain in place for the next 30 days and will be updated as necessary.

 

If persons become unwell or have been in close contact with a person that has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, then we ask that you do not report to work and that you contact the Ministry of Health’s hotline at (649)232-9444 or (649)333-0911 to seek medical assistance.

 

During this period, those persons who have been asked to quarantine by the Ministry of Health, can make application to the Director, Human Resources, in accordance with paragraph 9.6.1 of the Public Service Handbook, for special leave of up to 30 days for the duration of their quarantine. Current advice is that quarantine periods will be for 14 days.  If you are placed on quarantine on the advice of the Ministry of Health you must obtain from the Ministry of Health a formal notification to that effect which must be forwarded to the HR Director.

 

If you are medically diagnosed with the Coronavirus then a sick certificate should be submitted in standard form in accordance with paragraph 9.3 of the Public Service Handbook.

 

I end by expressing my profound thanks to staff across government for your dedication and commitment to service, in particular those on the front line.  This is certainly a challenging time and your call to duty is profoundly respected and relied upon.

 

May God continue to bless, guide and keep you, your families and these Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Sincerest Regards,

 

Deputy Governor and Head of the Public Service 

Her Excellency Anya Williams  

 

ENDS

 

[1] Issued under paragraph 1.1.4 of the Public Service Handbook.

Section 48 of the Disaster Management Ordinance.

[1] Including countries listed in any Notice to expand the list, issued under those Regulations.  Travel to the following 35 countries is prohibited: Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia*, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Japan, Latvia*, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania*, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta*, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.

 

[1] Issued under paragraph 1.1.4 of the Public Service Handbook.

[2] Section 48 of the Disaster Management Ordinance.

[3] Including countries listed in any Notice to expand the list, issued under those Regulations.  Travel to the following 35 countries is prohibited: Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia*, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Japan, Latvia*, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania*, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta*, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.

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