Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.
PHILIPSBURG--A student who returned to St. Maarten a week ago and immediately went into self-isolation, is the second confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 case in the country, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs announced on Sunday.
As the student went into immediate isolation, there is no chance for local transmission at this time. “The student continues to be monitored and has one more week of isolation left,” Jacobs said in the national address.
The student brings the total number of confirmed cases on the Dutch side to two. In the meantime, of the 13 persons who were being monitored for COVID-19, 10 have tested negative and one test is still pending. “Therefore, we have now two cases positive, 10 negative cases and one pending,” Jacobs said. The 13 were in self-isolation and under monitoring as having been exposed to persons who have COVID-19. They were exposed to the first confirmed person in Dutch St. Maarten, as well as one of the confirmed persons in French St. Martin who was closely related to three persons on the Dutch side.
Jacobs said since her last address on Friday, March 20, the Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS) has noted a spike in calls to 914 for persons wishing to register as having travelled home in the past week and they are currently being monitored. She thanked all persons who have heeded her call to do so. Also as CPS had medical personnel present at the airport on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, collecting the forms filled in by returning residents, authorities expect the number to go up, which will allow for monitoring of all returning residents over the past few days.
The prime minister called on persons who have returned to the island since Friday, March 13, to register with CPS by calling 914 or downloading the document provided for such on government’s website at
www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus, filling it in and emailing it to CPS. Other persons who have registered with CPS over the past few days are now being monitored and if they exhibit symptoms, they will be tested as well.
Jacobs urged the public to be mindful of fake news. “Today [Sunday – Ed.], a circulation has been going around about closures for spraying by some helicopter. This is fake news. Please do not follow any news that does not come from official government sites or official government administration.” For official information, persons can follow government’s radio station – 107.9FM or visit government’s website at www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus and Facebook page: Government of Sint Maarten.
“As Prime Minister of St. Maarten, I wish to encourage all of us to remain steadfast and continue to practise proper hygiene and prepare for what is a worldwide pandemic. I believe that we have been doing an extremely good job of containing the spread thus far by being very proper in our hygiene, by stepping up our cleaning and hygiene at home, on the job and when we go out in public. While we currently have now two confirmed cases, all measures over the past weeks and today [Sunday] have been aimed at containing the COVID-19 virus,” she said in the address.
“Knowledge is power. Stay informed and be prepared. We are strong, resilient and faithful people and together we can beat this monster that has toppled economies and health infrastructures around the world. Continue to be vigilant and report any persons you know have travelled, to CPS at 914 in helping to mitigate the spread of this virus on our small island-nation. CPS will most definitely follow up with all tips about persons who have travelled or who may have been exposed to the virus. By doing so you are doing your civic duty to ensure that the island is safe.”
She urged the public to live up to the responsibility of being good citizens and adhere to the regulations and guidelines put in place to protect them. “Persons behaving in [a] reckless [manner] and [showing] irresponsible behaviour during this partial lockdown aimed at minimising movement and contact within the community will have stringent measures taken against them in the form of fines, and even worse. Take this time to enjoy quality time with your family, for self-reflection and to do projects around the house. Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. The government and other essential businesses should arrange for persons who can, [to] work from home as much as possible. The safety and security of our population depend on your compliance with our regulations,” she said.