Entry requirements updated to allow rapid antigen tests

   Entry requirements updated  to allow rapid antigen tests

TEATT Minister Ludmila de Weever and VSA Minister Richard Panneflek.

PHILIPSBURG--The travel entry requirements for St. Maarten have been updated to include rapid antigen testing effective November 25.

  As of this date, travellers to St. Maarten will be required to complete a mandatory health authorisation application via the Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) available on www.stmaartenentry.com and upload their negative rt-PCR test results within five days or their negative antigen test result within 48 hours.

  Currently, the following antigen tests have been approved: Abbott (CGIA Panbio COVID-19 Ag rapid test), Becton Dickinson (CGIA BD Veritor COVID-19 test) and Roche (SD Biosensor F test). The list of acceptable tests is constantly being reviewed as government continues to seek the most accurate alternatives to the PCR test, it was stated in a press release issued jointly by Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication Minister Ludmila de Weever and Health Minister Richard Panneflek.

  “I am happy with the addition of another test as this will assist in easing travel to St. Maarten since these specific antigen tests are readily available in our main tourist markets. In fact, one of our major airlines, Air France, is already using this test for travel between Paris and Guadeloupe, within the 48-hour window. Our island’s economy needs to return to pre-pandemic levels as safely and quickly as possible and this decision allows us to make the necessary adjustments to help improve load factors, thereby increasing the number of visitors and with it economic activity,” de Weever said.

  Panneflek added: “I am diligently working on the possibility of using antigen tests for the local population. This will allow us to further synchronise the protocols that CPS [Collective Prevention Services – Ed.] and ARS [regional health agency] have been working on. Due to the improved accuracy of antigen tests, the realisation of mass testing will be possible for St. Maarten in the near future, allowing for a more realistic depiction of our COVID-19 situation. However, PCR tests will remain St. Maarten’s gold standard testing method.”