Monday’s border closure with the so-called ABC islands (see related story) once again drove home the importance of keeping the local COVID-19 situation manageable. Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are dealing with large infection rates and especially the latter two have been struggling with their medical capacity to handle such.
New and more contagious variants of COVID-19, particularly the British one, are blamed for the crisis there. The number of related deaths is also up, as urgent efforts take place to speed up the vaccination process and help stem the tide.
Such a spike in new cases can also easily occur in this part of the Dutch Caribbean and its effects on healthcare facilities would probably be worse because of their small scale. That is why strictly continuing to comply with related measures including wearing face masks, frequently sanitising hands and social distancing remains crucial.
In Curaçao the March 19 election turned out to be a “super spreader” event as feared. Mass gatherings must clearly be avoided, so today’s report that St. Maarten’s Ministries of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA, and Justice would be stepping up controls of businesses for adherence to the precautionary protocols was most welcome.
However, that apparently did not stop persons from celebrating in groups over the long Easter weekend and independent (former NA) parliamentarian Christophe Emmanuel rightly expressed concern in today’s paper. Authorities need to crack down on these practices, but ultimately it is a matter of individual responsibility.
The same can be said about getting vaccinated, for which registration was recently opened to all adult residents – regardless of their immigration status – after the priority groups of seniors, frontline workers and persons with underlying risk factors were tackled first. The Vaccination Management Team (VMT) in its latest release urged people to sign up.
Remember, this is not just about you, but about protecting all others as well.