New variants of the COVID-19 virus not detected in St. Maarten

New variants of the COVID-19  virus not detected in St. Maarten

Richard Panneflek


PHILIPSBURG--The new variants of the coronavirus COVID-19 virus have not been detected in St. Maarten.

  This was confirmed in a press release from the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Richard Panneflek on Tuesday, February 2.

  In the release, the minister provided an update to the public on the new variants of the COVID-19 virus circulating around the world. According to the release, three of these new variants have shown to be more infectious than the original COVID-19 strains and have originated from South Africa, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.

  “If left uncontrolled, these new variants can lead to an exponential rise in hospital admissions and deaths within a few weeks. If they are introduced to St. Maarten, it will have a severe impact on our health services and resources,” said Panneflek.

  The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) is closely monitoring the presence of the new COVID-19 variants on St. Maarten. CPS is collaborating with the St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) to send weekly samples to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM in the Netherlands for genotyping. This way, the specific strain of the COVID-19 virus can be determined.

  Among the first batch of 10 samples from COVID-19 patients in St. Maarten that were sent last week, none of the new variants were detected.

  Minister Panneflek urges everyone to take heed of the mandatory guidelines implemented for your safety. “It is your civic duty to protect yourself and your family, as we are still amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Panneflek concluded.