Quarantine rules made stricter as repatriation flight arrives

  Quarantine rules made stricter as repatriation flight arrives

An officer of the Police Force Caribbean Netherlands stands guard as passengers of the repatriation flight from the Dominican Republic and members of the St. Eustatius Public Health Department await the arrival of the bus to transport them to the quarantine location. 

  1. EUSTATIUS--A group of residents of St. Eustatius arrived Tuesday on a repatriation flight from the Dominican Republic carried out by Windward Islands Airways International Winair.

A Customs officer walking past a passenger and a young child under the designated tent at F.D. Roosevelt Airport.

Due to the fact that the Dominican Republic has a number of COVID-19 infections and the situation is still not under control, the country is categorised as high-risk. Therefore, all persons who arrived on the flight were placed into quarantine at a designated site.

While the passengers wore face masks as they disembarked from the aircraft, ground crew at F.D. Roosevelt Airport wore full-body personal protective equipment as they performed their duties.

A tent was erected outside the arrival hall for passengers to have some comfort while they waited for the arrival of their transportation by bus to the quarantine site.

The arriving passengers were met by members of the St. Eustatius Public Health Department and Police Force Caribbean Netherlands KPCN, who were all wearing face masks.

Statia currently has no persons in isolation. The three persons who were previously diagnosed with the coronavirus have recovered and tested negative for the virus. There are currently no active recorded cases of coronavirus on Statia, with 12 tests pending.

Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij stated that the returning residents have a right to come home, as they are legally registered in Statia. These persons have been stranded in the Dominican Republic since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic five months ago.

All transactions and contact with the persons in quarantine must be carried out via the Public Health Department. This means that also the delivery of food and clothing to the repatriates must be done via the Health Department.

Van Rij added that all persons in quarantine are expected to keep all items which they have brought with them from Dominican Republic in their possession until the quarantine is over.

“With full understanding and with reports of concern from the Statia community, the Public Entity has decided to introduce an extra precautionary measure. At the quarantine location a security service will be arranged for the duration of 14 days of the quarantine period,” Van Rij stated.

The island government said anyone who did not adhere to the quarantine protocol and who could potentially put the Statia community at risk would be fined. These measures apply not only to the repatriates from the Dominican Republic, but also to essential workers who are expected to arrive in Statia during the course of this week.

“There are too many people working many long, hard hours to try and keep this island and its people safe. We, the police, the Public Health Department and government cannot do this alone. We realise that there are still a few people who are still taking the situation lightly, and we do not accept that. There will, therefore, be a zero-tolerance policy [for those who – Ed.] disregard [the quarantine rules] as there is way too much at stake here. Violators will be subject to a fine,” Van Rij warned.