Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij.
ST. EUSTATIUS--The Public Entity of St. Eustatius announced several changes to the coronavirus measures on the island. There are currently no active cases of coronavirus in Statia. Four pending tests are due to return from the laboratory and there are 114 people in self-quarantine.
Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij stated that even though there are no active cases in Statia, he implored the public to remain vigilant as COVID-19 is still prevalent on the surrounding islands and worldwide.
Visits for business, tourism and family purposes are possible, but not for longer than three weeks. No quarantine is necessary for people coming from low-risk countries, but persons travelling from medium- or high-risk countries will have to go into quarantine. Most islands and countries are considered medium- or high-risk.
Essential business trips are also allowed. Rules for essential workers are still in place and it will be monitored that workers follow strict protocols.
Government has decided to shorten the quarantine period. Instead of 14 days, the length of stay in quarantine will be reduced to 12 days. On the 10th day of quarantine, COVID-19 tests will be carried out.
Van Rij said the reason for this change is that “scientific evidence gives proof that the possible infection is actually [such that – Ed.] by far the most cases develop within 10 days. There is a one-per-cent chance that the infection will appear after day 10. Therefore, we are taking a calculated risk.”
Shortening the period of quarantine is done for empathetic reasons as it is a hardship for persons in quarantine, especially for those who have been through it two or three times. Also, it is less strenuous on capacity at the Public Health Department, the commissioner stated.
An exit test is mandatory for everyone travelling from a high-risk country to ensure that no infected people arrive in Statia. Before departure, a negative COVID-19 test must be presented before entry to Statia will be allowed. Travellers will have to go into quarantine and will be tested on the 10th day.
Anyone entering Statia, including those travelling from low-risk countries, must obtain permission to enter. Van Rij said the island government has run into the recurring problem where people book their ticket and seek permission to enter afterwards, which has caused problems, as the quarantine capacity is maximum 60 persons.
Currently, the island is over its capacity for quarantine. This has resulted in some late requests not being granted. Therefore, people are “strongly encouraged” to ask permission first and then book a ticket after.
The rules for home-based quarantine were also changed. While it is recommended to go into home-based quarantine in separate apartments with separate sanitary and kitchen facilities, the minimum requirement for Statia residents only is a fully separate room per person in quarantine. Persons in quarantine may sit outside on a porch or balcony or in the garden, provided no other person is in their vicinity.