PHILIPSBURG--The travel restrictions which were issued by the Government of Sint Maarten have now been increased from fourteen to 21 days, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs disclosed on Wednesday.
According to a press release issued by the Department of Communication DComm late Wednesday night, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be meeting today, Thursday, and a meeting will be held with Members of Parliament (MPs) to provide them with an update on national preparations for COVID-19.
Jacobs said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared on Wednesday that COVID-19 is now an international pandemic. Such a declaration calls on all countries to speed up their response and containment measures and to be prepared to take any additional measures that are required to protect public health.
The Government continues to work closely with the Government of French St. Martin and kingdom counterparts to prepare and plan to mitigate the spread.
Jacobs added that the business community as well as Government will have to look at ways of allowing workers to work remotely from home, especially persons who have travelled to COVID-19 hotspots, including those not mentioned in the country’s travel restriction lists.
Persons should self- isolate at home for 14 days; contact their family physician and provide a list of their flu-like symptoms to their doctor if they develop any. The family physician will determine whether the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) should be contacted. For more information, call the 914 hot line during business hours.
Children with flu-like symptoms should remain at home; self-isolation is the best way to contain communicable diseases. Special attention should be paid to senior citizens, especially those with pre-existing health (respiratory) conditions.
Passengers and airline crew who have been in China (People’s Republic), Hong Kong (SAR China), Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea (Rep.), Macao (SAR China) or Singapore in the past 21 days, are not allowed to transit or enter Sint Maarten.
This does not apply to nationals of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, the Netherlands, St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Maarten), and to residents of St. Maarten.
All passengers must fill in the embarkation card to state where they are coming from before the aircraft/ship arrives in St. Maarten.
There are zero cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in Dutch St. Maarten at this time. The screening processes at St. Maarten’s ports of entry have been stepped up in cooperation with the airlines which are also following their own screening protocols based on WHO recommendations.
There is no reason to panic; stay calm and take preventative hygiene measures at home, on the job and in school that have been promoted by the Ministry of Public Health for the past several weeks via DComm.
Persons should refrain from hugging and touching each other when visiting family or friends. We have to get back to the “No touch rule” to protect ourselves at this point in time with the global COVID-19 outbreak.
The Government continues to work diligently to increase capacity within the public health sector, but this will take some time.
Listen to the government radio station 107.9FM for official information, statements and news updates, or visit the Government website
www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus and/or Facebook Page