Back row (from left): Cabinet of VSA: Sr. Policy Advisor Alissa Rios, Chief of staff Farrah Busby-Richardson; Staff Bureau: Secretary-General Joy Arnell; PJIAE: Emile Levons, Michel Hyman, Clifton Brown, Connally Connor; TEATT: Kevin Maingrette, Jason Lista; HCLS: Dr. Fey van der Dijs and representative; VSA Minister Richard Panneflek; Medical Team Leader Dr. Perk Franklin; SMMC: Candida Williams. Not in the picture but present: CPS: Dr. Daphne Illis and Mariah Henry.
PHILIPSBURG--Twenty-one persons were repatriated from the Dominican Republic on Monday, July 20.
“As a precautionary measure, all persons were PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tested at the airport and signed consent forms agreeing to remain in quarantine for 14 days,” the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA stated in a press release on Monday.
VSA Minister Richard Panneflek emphasised that passengers arriving on this flight must remain in quarantine for 14 days, given that these persons arrived from a high-risk country and the incubation period ranges from 2 to 14 days.
These persons are advised to stay in a specific room and away from other people living in the same home. If these persons or family members develop symptoms, they are advised to contact their family physician for further instructions.
Panneflek is expecting to receive the test results Monday evening or at latest Tuesday morning, and urged the returning residents to adhere to the quarantine measures to protect their loved ones and the general population.
Panneflek held discussions with key stakeholders involved in Saturday’s repatriation flight from Fort Lauderdale.
According to the release, Saturday’s flight provided the opportunity for a dry run of the reopening protocols that are being implemented.
“For many countries, including St. Maarten, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge. Handling this pandemic has called for not only a renewed focus on public health, but also on measures to ensure safe travel,” the ministry said.
A collaborative, knowledge-sharing and solution-finding meeting focused on evaluating Saturday’s dry run, to strengthen the process and make the necessary improvements. The meeting evaluated the operational procedures and facilities for accommodating RT-PCR testing at the airport for incoming passengers, and other important areas related to the arrival of passengers.
“St. Maarten continues to ensure that all residents stranded abroad can return home safely,” the ministry added.
“Once again, Minister Richard Panneflek would like to thank all the assisting staff at PJIA [Princess Juliana International Airport – Ed.], especially the Immigration Department, all medical personnel, the laboratory institution and everyone else who assisted directly or indirectly today and on Saturday, July 18,” according to the release.