PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Health Richard Panneflek announced on Thursday that as of midnight tonight (0:00) hours to 06.00 am the next morning. St. Maarten will be implementing some drastic measures to better curtail social gatherings in night clubs, bars, or any place that a large number of people gather.
Minister Panneflek that the government of St. Maarten is doing its best to avoid a total shutdown however stricter measures has to be implemented in order to flatten the curve on COVID-19. The Minister of Health said these measures are necessary since the numbers of persons infected with COVID-19 has drastically increased in the past days.
Currently, St. Maarten has 80 positive cases of COVID-19, three of which are hospitalized.
Due to the rapid increase, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has implemented travel restrictions on St. Maarten. The warning Level 3 is now enforced for St. Maarten as of today Thursday, August 6th, 2020. Panneflek said despite the travel warning placed by the CDC, the cases on St. Maarten are all locally transmitted. Panneflek said that the Aruban website shows that Aruba has 89 new cases of COVID-19 with a few days. Currently the number of active cases in Aruba from 92 to 146, therefore it is important that residents on St. Maarten must not let their guards down when it comes to social distancing and hand sanitizing.
Panneflek said the current trend on St. Maarten shows that there are a number of persons that were tested and are asymptomatic, thus he cautioned relatives to beware of how they are greeting family members that do not live with them.
Measures for entry on St. Maarten- Dr. Earl Best.
Inspector General Dr. Earl Best said that based on the travel restrictions issued today by the CDC travelers must avoid unessential travel. Best said based on the level 3 restrictions placed by CDC can either be travel restrictions or total travel ban.
Best said that St. Maarten has certain measures in place for its visitors, those measures he said must be respected if not visitors could be denied entry.
Travelers wishing to visit St. Maarten especially from high-risk zone such as the USA, and Europe must upload their PCR test, travel health insurance for evaluation before entry is granted. Travelers that receive entry must present their entry form to the healthcare officials at PJIAE and immigration. Besides the evaluation travelers have to give consent to several things prior to arrival that is retesting, to be examined locally, and isolation if necessary.
Best further explained that the Health Ministry is busy working on making it mandatory for travelers to have COVID-19 health insurance, he said that policy is not yet ready but when completed it will be announced.
In-transit passengers will have to submit the same requirements such as the PCR testing, Best explained that in-transit passengers spend a few hours in the terminal building at the airport and can be in contact with local residents, he said at times these travelers are forced to overnight on St. Maarten, therefore, it is also necessary that they fully comply with the set requirements to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.