With yourself

With yourself

Like much of the world, a new wave of COVID-19, presumably due in large part to the Omicron variant, is affecting the Dutch Caribbean including the so-called ABC islands. Aruba noted record infection numbers and its dominant tourism industry has begun losing clients due to being classified as very high risk by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), advising “essential travel” with vaccination only.

The same goes for Bonaire, where bar/restaurants and casinos close at midnight and just one person per household/group can enter any store at a time. Curaçao made its curfew from 10:00pm – instead of 1:00am – to 4:30am, while all places providing service to the public must stop doing so at 9:00pm.

St. Maarten’s business closing hour was pushed back from 3:00am to 1:00am, but with six COVID-19 patients at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) Thursday evening, two more could make that 11:00pm. A midnight curfew was introduced on the French side too.

Local hospitalisations have remained relatively low and short apparently because of the Omicron mutant’s generally less severe symptoms. However, one needs to keep in mind not just capacity issues particularly for intensive care, but also lack of qualified medical personnel due to infections among staff and related quarantining.

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley announced heightened inspections on COVID-19 protocols, during both the daytime and evening hours. It appears many have strayed away from applying and enforcing these rules.

Although that was somewhat expected once the number of active cases dropped to single digits, it cannot be allowed to continue under the circumstances. Keeping the virus from spreading as best possible is everybody’s responsibility, especially where it regards protective measures and vaccinating.

As they say, a better world starts with yourself.