PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley says travel restrictions from South Africa will go into effect as of today, Monday, November 29, and new entry requirements for the Netherlands will follow.
Ottley announced that he sent a request to restrict flights and passengers arriving or travelling from South Africa within a 14-day period. This decision was based on the new COVID-19 variant, which could show immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility.
According to the St. Maarten Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) website, other countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique – also fall under these travel restrictions.
The new variant has been causing a surge in cases in many countries, including the Netherlands. “In discussions with Dutch representatives, I was informed that the major hospitalisation increase in the Netherlands was due to this new variant,” said Ottley. “This information motivated me to alter the entry requirements for travellers from the Netherlands.”
As of Monday, December 6, fully vaccinated travellers from the Netherlands will be required to upload proof of a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours before travelling to St. Maarten, or an antigen nasal swab test not older than 24 hours will also be accepted from vaccinated travellers only. Unvaccinated travellers are required to submit a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours before travelling to St. Maarten.
This will also apply to travellers coming from Germany, United Kingdom, Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland, Monaco, Bulgaria, Bolivia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“At the moment, our active cases, hospitalisation and deaths in St. Maarten have decreased significantly and it is our duty to remain proactive and do our best to mitigate the spread of the Mu variant,” said Ottley.