No PCR or antigen tests from travellers from low-risk countries

No PCR or antigen tests from  travellers from low-risk countries

VSA Minister Richard Panneflek.


PHILIPSBURG--No polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen tests are required for persons travelling to St. Maarten from “low-risk” countries.

  Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Richard Panneflek said there will now be two risk categories of countries/regions: low and high. The risk categories will be by country or by region and should constantly be monitored to see whether adaptation is necessary.

  He said residents and travellers coming from countries or regions that are categorised as low-risk, who were not in any high-risk country/region in the last 14 days prior to travel, will need to fill in the mandatory health declaration EHAS at no later than 24 hours prior to their travel to St. Maarten. No PCR or antigen test is required.

  For countries and regions that are not on the low-risk list and are still considered high-risk, the requirement remains the same: filling out the health declaration form at and negative results of a PCR test, which can be substituted by the approved or emergency pre-approved US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) antigen test, with the test number.

  The list of low-risk countries will be adapted through monitoring the developments worldwide. The current list will be expanded to include Aruba and Curaçao.

  As the old year has closed and a new one has just begun, Panneflek said the country can reflect on lessons learned from the experiences gathered on how to adequately deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

  “It is time to look forward and continue to find a balance between health, safety and the economical sustainability of our country,” he said. “The pandemic has taught us that we need to constantly follow developments both regionally and worldwide, and the importance of having a well-defined risk-management approach that allows us to constantly adapt our protocols so we can be both competitive in our main industry and create opportunities to work on the social well-being of our population.

  “I am pleased to have taken notice of the decision of one of our sister islands – Curaçao. I have been in personal contact with my colleague Minister of Health Mrs. Zita Jesus-Leito concerning their new travel protocols.”

  Curaçao will no longer be requesting negative PCR tests for passengers traveling from St. Maarten in the new year.

  “I am always in favour of managing the best way possible and minimising the exposure risk to our people and our visitors,” said Panneflek. “We all know by now there will always be some degree of risk, which we will have to balance with the socio-economic well-being of St. Maarten.”

  He said 2021 will continue to bring new developments regarding dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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