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Prime Minister Jacobs Allows Essential Services to Open for Two Days

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In an ongoing effort to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 virus on St. Maarten, Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC Silveria Jacobs declared a State of Emergency on St. Maarten on April 4, 2020, during her National Address, with immediate effect as of April 5, 2020. This state of emergency instituted a total lockdown of Dutch St. Maarten including the ports of entry and the borders to the Northern side of the island.

After several heavy discussions with the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and strategic meetings with the relevant Emergency Support Function (ESF) coordinators, the decision was made to allow persons with urgent and necessary need(s) to access essential services for two days during the lockdown also alleviating the social unrest. Supermarkets have been closed to the public, allowing only for deliveries, which was not being executed as planned. As a result, Prime Minister Jacobs stated on April 14, that she has taken the decision to make amendments to the State of Emergency Nation Decree in order to allow supermarkets and other essential services to open today, Thursday, April 16, 2020, and Friday, April 17, 2020.

On these two dates, the general public is permitted to make use of the public roads from 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM in order to purchase food and other essential goods necessary for their basic needs. The businesses allowed to open and provide essential services to the public during the two-day period are grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies, banks and gas stations between 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Funeral home services may be conducted, provided with the understanding that no more than 20 persons are allowed to participate, also taking into account the conditions in article 9 of the State of Emergency National Decree regarding social distancing.

“I would like to remind the general public that the lockdown is still in full effect. You should only leave home if it is absolutely necessary,” said Prime Minister Jacobs. Persons who are making use of the essential services during this two day period are to adhere to the requirement of wearing a mask when out in the public. Persons should continue to practice proper hygiene and maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 to 2 meters from other persons at all times; in and outside of these establishments. Grocery stores opening to the public for this period are also encouraged to continue allowing deliveries to be made as well.

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COVID-19: ADVICE ON THE USE OF MASKS IN THE COMMUNITY

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Current information suggests that the two main routes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus are respiratory droplets and contact, the Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Development and Labour said on Tuesday in a press statement.

Respiratory droplets are generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Any person who is in close contact (within 1 m) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing) is at risk of being exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets.

Current evidence suggests that most disease is transmitted by symptomatic laboratory confirmed cases. The incubation period for COVID-19, which is the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset, is on average 5-6 days, but can be as long as 14 days.

During this period, also known as the “pre-symptomatic” period, some infected persons can be contagious and therefore transmit the virus to others. This is supported by data suggesting that some people can test positive for COVID-19 from 1-3 days before they develop symptoms.

Thus, it is possible that people infected with COVID-19 could transmit the virus before symptoms develop. It is important to recognize that pre-symptomatic transmission still requires the virus to be spread via infectious droplets or through touching contaminated surfaces.

Wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19. However, the use of medical masks in the community may create a false sense of security, with neglect of other essential measures, such as hand hygiene practices and physical distancing, and may lead to touching the face under the masks and under the eyes.

Other measures should also be adopted. Whether or not masks are used, maximum compliance with hand hygiene and other infection prevention control measures is critical to prevent human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.

Potential advantages of the use of masks by healthy people in the community setting include reducing potential exposure risk from infected person during the “pre-symptomatic” period and stigmatization of individuals wearing mask for source control.

In light of the above, the use of non-medical masks (simple cloth face coverings e.g. sewn cloth face covering, bandana face covering) by healthy people in the community is recommended to slow the spread of the virus and help prevent people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. These coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. The following features related to cloth face coverings should be taken into consideration:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Health care workers, COVID-19 patients, caregivers of COVID-19 patients and symptomatic people should wear a medical mask. Medical masks are defined as surgical masks or N-95 respirators that are flat or pleated; they are affixed to the head with straps.

They are tested according to a set of standardized test methods that aim to balance high filtration, adequate breathability and optionally, fluid penetration resistance. It is critical that medical masks and respirators which are in short supply, be prioritized for health care workers.

For any type of mask, appropriate use and disposal are essential to ensure that they are effective and to avoid any increase in transmission.

  • Place the mask carefully, ensuring it covers the mouth and nose, and tie it securely to minimize any gaps between the face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while wearing it.
  • Remove the mask using the appropriate technique: do not touch the front of the mask but untie it from behind.
  • After removal or whenever a used mask is inadvertently touched, clean hands using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Replace masks as soon as they become damp with a new clean, dry mask.
  • Do not re-use single-use masks.
  • Discard single-use masks after each use and dispose of them immediately upon removal.

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TOPPERS DISTILLERY STEPS IN FOR OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – Leader of the Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell said on Monday: “Around the world many CEO’s and small business alike depending on the product manufacture and supply, stepped forward to adapt their respective companies to make products direly needed in aid of first responders in the health care industry or those at the frontline, such as police officers. They heeded the calls by government or took the initiative to fill the sudden void to create life saving products that were once in abundance, like surgical masks or –gowns, sanitizers.

“Items we considered a natural necessity as we went about our daily lives until the COVID -19 pandemic knocked on almost every nations shores in a domino’s effect around the globe. Until recently these items have become commodities. Scarce, and highly wanted.”

Gracita states: “Sint Maarten is no exception. There are many persons, businesses none- profit organizations and volunteers who are doing their share to assist government to cope with the prevention as well as the aftermath of this horrible pandemic.

“One such company that answered the call to help, right here is Topper’s.

Well-known by one of its companies that distills Sint Maarten based products, owner Topper Daboul and his distillery team including Ms. Melanie, stepped forward to produce a hand-sanitizer to temporarily alleviate the current and critical void. This item is direly needed especially for our law- enforcement agencies that are at the frontline daily. It took collaborative minds to get this action done quickly and effectively. Kudos goes out to Ms. Cleopatra Halley for making all this happen by quick and creative thinking out of the box, bringing parties together for the common good. Together with law-enforcement, community police officer Mr. Felix Richards, Mr. Neville Halley of Halley- Aviation, Bryan Fredericks who made it all happen”.

Gracita concludes: “There’s always a time to step in and support where and when needed. What makes us great as a nation is our ability to be open, creative and inclusive in our joint efforts to be successful in combatting this common enemy, the COVID-19 virus. Small steps, can lead to big results in keeping our people safe.”

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SMMC releases its COVID-19 response video

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - In keeping the general public of St. Maarten and surrounding islands informed about the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic so far, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) released a 2- minute video today via SMMC’s social media channels.

The video documents the mitigating efforts and addition of extra isolation room and ICU bed capacity the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) of SMMC has actioned in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. The video features Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC’s Medical Director and Chairman of the OMT, who explains the progress made thus far.

Preventative measures  

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, SMMC has been taking several preventative measures to limit the possible exposure to the virus, such as the ceasing of elective medical procedures and consultations, doing pre-screening at the main entrances of SMMC and the Care Complex, suspending patient visiting hours, freezing the travel of medical specialists and adding isolation and ICU capacity to name a few.

Isolation and ICU capacity inside SMMC  

Trough the expansion of the Medical/Surgical ward by hermetically sealing off the ward and designating it to the care for acute COVID-19 patients only and through the extra ICU capacity brought in through the Dutch Government’s support, SMMC has increased its isolation capacity to 14 isolation beds inside of the hospital of which 6 beds are for ICU care with each having its own ventilator.

Mobile Medical Pavilion

In the video, Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC’s Medical Director and Chairman of the OMT, shows the Mobile Medical Pavilion that is being finalized in a joint effort with the Government of St. Maarten, which will be used for medium care for COVID-19 suspects and confirmed cases and will also be used for patient screening purposes for anyone showing flu like symptoms. The Medical Pavilion houses 7 double patient rooms and support staff rooms.

ICU Tent (Hospitainer)

The ICU Tent that has arrived on St. Maarten recently through the support of the Dutch Government has 6 beds, each with its own ventilator. The ICU Tent will be transformed into an ICU-container, a so-called “Hospitainer”, in the near future which is more storm resilient.

Dr. Holiday thanks all staff, especially the front line staff for their continued hard work and dedication: “As we go through these trying times together, we at SMMC want to thank and salute all of our hardworking staff, especially our frontline staff, the Ambulance Department, CPS, the SLS/HCLS labs and the Government of St. Maarten as it takes unimaginable courage, strength and dedication to continue to serve the people of St. Maarten, Saba and Statia. Stay safe, remain resilient and be strong!”, Dr. Holiday concludes.

The production of the video is made possible by funds received from The World Bank, for which SMMC expressed its gratitude and can be viewed via SMMC’s YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn social media channels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm7llJWzdhM

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UPDATE: COVID-19 Positive Cases Climb to 52

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Head of the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) and Epidemiologist Eva Lista- de Weever announced on Sunday that the number of COVID-19 positive cases has increased by two for a total of 52. 

ARCHIVE - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs gave an update on Saturday with respect to the country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The national address from Saturday, April 11:

People of St. Maarten, both here on St. Maarten and abroad, I hereby address you as Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC for today's update on April 11, 2020. As part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and government’s COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures. 

COVID-19 Cases 

As of today, April 11, 2020, I can update you on the COVID-19 cases.  

   

  • Self- Quarantine: 136  
  • Self-Isolation: 194  
  • Number Tested: 134  
  • Number Positive: 50 (1 hospitalized)   
  • Male: 34  
  • Female: 16  
  • Number Negative: 82  
  • Number Pending: 4 (3 hospitalized)
  • Inconclusive: 1  
  • Deceased: 9 
  • Recovered: 5  

SMMC Training Sessions for AMI Healthcare Personnel & Volunteers 

The requested personnel for St. Maarten consisting of 29 medical professionals arrived on the island on April 7th and 8th to assist the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) with COVID-19 patients. I can announce that the training sessions for the 29 medical personnel from AMI Healthcare and the local medical volunteers are underway. The training sessions include refresher courses, crash courses for basic ICU care, CPSI training sessions carried out by SMMC’s ICT department and other essential training in order for these teams to provide the most efficient care possible. The AMI Healthcare personnel have all traveled from the US, prior to their arrival they all tested negative for COVID-19. Upon arrival to St. Maarten, they were swabbed again by HCLS and those tests also came back negative. 

COVID-19 Admission Update. One patient is from Saba 

As of today, April 11, 2020, there have been 3 new COVID-19 related patients that have been admitted to the St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC). All three patients are not confirmed COVID-19 positive, however, they are highly suspected cases and one of the patients is from Saba. This brings the total to 4 COVID-19 related patients currently admitted to SMMC with three being stable and one in critical condition. Today ICU nurses from AMI will work with our staff in caring for these patients. 

Food Distribution 

Over the weekend, including today, the ESF7 team of social services, community development, community police, community leaders and volunteers have been distributing food packages in the different communities to those persons who are most vulnerable and have already been registered with social services. Please be patient as Social Services will also begin to distribute food packages to those who have registered via the social impact assessment form. The first batch of food distribution will be completed by Monday and later in the coming week, the second batch of food will be packaged and distributed.

Opening Times For Deliveries & Shopping Allowed For Disaster Pass Holders 

Orders from the public must be submitted to the respective grocery stores between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. Grocery stores, both large and small, will have the opportunity to deliver between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Between 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM, employees may work on packaging items for the deliveries of the following day. Each grocery store operator needs to ensure that a priority system is implemented to guarantee that priority is given to orders of the basic necessities. All purchases and orders should be on a strict need-basis only.  

Smaller Grocery Stores Now Offering Delivery Service 

More grocery stores, including the smaller grocery stores operated by Chinese nationals, started as of today taking orders for persons living in their district. A list of the current grocery stores that are delivering may be found on the Facebook Page Government of Sint Maarten. As I allow for more options in order for persons to access food, public bus drivers and taxi drivers are being contacted to connect to a grocery store or supermarket in your neighborhood to assist in delivering food orders. This cooperation can also serve as another way for the grocery stores and the locals in the community to help each other during this time in the same manner. 

Disaster Pass Holders and Essential Workers

I’d like to announce that persons with a disaster pass and essential workers are now allowed to carry-out their grocery shopping at the supermarkets opened as of tomorrow, April 12, 2020, however, these persons must adhere to hygiene requirements such as wearing a mask and sanitizing your hand when entering and leaving the store. This decision will allow for less orders to be made to the grocery stores and therefore, will result in a quicker turn-around time for orders that are being delivered. I kindly ask the public, not to order from more than one supermarket as this is causing confusion. Arrangements are being made for key persons within the community to assist with deliveries from neighborhood grocery stores and will be required to wear a mask. These persons will also have access to gas stations to facilitate deliveries within their respective neighborhoods. Grocery stores, as well as consumers, are also strictly forbidden to sell or purchase alcohol during the remainder of the lockdown. In order to ensure that persons remain in their neighborhoods, there will be heightened police presence at round-a-bouts.

Follow our Government Radio station – 107.9FM. For official information, statements and news updates or visit the Government website at www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus and our Facebook Page: Government of Sint Maarten. 

Thank You

In closing, I’d like to thank all those essential workers who are working tirelessly including ESFs 1 to 10 for all that you are doing. I must commend and say thanks to all those businesses that are practicing social responsibility and I encourage other businesses in the community to do the same as we all have a role to play. I urge and encourage the people to show that we are a strong, united and powerful people and country, and we will overcome this challenge. Thank you to the people of St. Maarten. Thank you to all our front-liners. May God continue to bless each and every person on St. Maarten.

ARCHIVE - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The national address of the Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs of Friday, April 10 is as follows.

The national address is as follows:

Good Friday

People of St Maarten, though today is Good Friday, I wish each and every one of you a blessed Good Friday and I hope that your day has been somber, reflective and that you’ve taken the time to worship, as I did online, this morning with the Methodist Church. This is a time where we usually get together with family to eat, talk, and share.

However, it’s a somber time as we are socially distancing and therefore, everything that has to happen, happens via the internet. With this said, it is with humble pleasure that I come to you this evening to address you as Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC on April 10, 2020, as part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and government’s COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures.  

COVID-19 Overview of Measures Taken

I’d like to take this opportunity to just briefly update you on the strategy that the St. Maarten Government used in combatting the COVID-19 virus during the month of March 2020. Firstly, we limited the number of visitors and transportation to St. Maarten via air and sea. Naturally, we allowed and continue to allow cargo to be imported, transited and exported in St. Maarten and to St. Maarten. 

Thereafter, we focused on controlling the virus within our borders. As mentioned previously, the first cases were all imported cases of residents returning to the island. Contact tracing was instituted to try to contain the virus. Of course, here we initially relied on persons to self-quarantine or self-isolate and to be disciplined in doing so.

However, this proved to be very challenging with the limited staff and the number of persons/residents that returned from abroad and the contact they may have had with other persons abroad. Hence, this was one of the reasons, the government secured a location to “house” these individuals to prevent further spreading. 

Simultaneously, we also executed our non-medical, non-financial required strategy of education & awareness promotion of informing our community to do the following: 

  • Stay at Home 
  • Wash Your Hands Often 
  • Practice Proper Hygiene 
  • Maintain Social Distancing 
  • Prepare a Disaster Kit 

These seemingly simple but extremely effective practices hold the fundamental, critical and imperative solution to break and beat this “Invisible War” as my colleague Minister of Finance has deemed it to be.

These steps and practices are what we as a community can do, without any financial cost to the government, to control the spread of this virus. However, given the challenges of our community, related to language barriers, demographic and cultural differences, the government also started to target and strategize to ensure we reach the Spanish and Haitian speaking community mainly due to the language barriers.  

In the interim, our numbers of cases have begun to rise, our resources continue to be limited, we are sourcing from different places to get as much as we can to ensure our health care providers, medical institutions and front-liners are protected and can execute their jobs to the best of their ability. But, as everywhere else in the world, these same resources such as N-95, Latex gloves, PPE equipment, etc. continue to be in high demand, which results in limited supply and extremely high prices. Not to mention, the delay in being shipped and received.  

While we have been very happy to receive assistance from our Kingdom partners in the form of PPEs, medical equipment, as well as personnel, who arrived from the USA this past week, we continue to struggle on the ground as it relates to having enough persons to execute our plan. It had been our plan this week to go into all the communities where we are realizing that there is a lack of information as well as a possible spread of the COVID-19 virus, in order to get all of these persons tested. However, the testing materials were not available to be able to do so and I am very happy to say that we were able to secure a flight that will bring St. Maarten the much-needed testing equipment tomorrow, April 11, in order for us to resume our testing in a more aggressive manner.

COVID-19 Cases 

As of today, April 10, 2020, I can update you on the COVID-19 cases.

  • Self- Quarantine: 133  
  • Self-Isolation: 202  
  • Number Tested: 134  
  • Number Positive: 50 (1 hospitalized)   
  • Male: 34  
  • Female: 16  
  • Number Negative: 82  
  • Number Pending: 1  
  • Inconclusive: 1  
  • Deceased: 9 
  • Recovered: 5  

Today, April 10, the EOC held a strategic meeting with Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) 5, 7 and 10 to discuss several issues that have arisen during the lockdown as well as to receive updates. 

ESF 5 Law & Order

I am alarmed to hear that persons are taking advantage of this time to go out and steal. We understand that some persons may feel a dire need and that is why we are making it possible for you to also receive food from the government of St. Maarten. Every single person that is in need of food should ensure that they register via our ‘social impact assessment’ form which can be found at www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus.

For those who are not able to do so, a free 711 number will soon be available whereby persons will be taking calls and filling in the information for you. This service is especially for the elderly, and those who are out of touch with technology that is now being used to be able to continue the work from the government.

The Police will continue to monitor the break-ins, and anyone caught will be prosecuted to the highest level. I must commend all our officers as well as many other front-liners who are working daily with limited resources and I thank the majority of the St. Maarten people who are so compliant and assist the police by calling when they see crimes being committed. I ask parents to continue to control your children, keep them in the house as this is the only way that you can avoid that they bring death into your home.

SMMC 

I have also been updated by the St. Maarten Medical Centre’s (SMMC) Outbreak Management Team that of the total 12 COVID-19 related patients admitted at SMMC since the start of the pandemic, 1 is currently admitted, 5 have been discharged in good condition and are either isolated at home or in our isolation location and unfortunately, 6 have passed away. One of the patients was already in critical condition and admitted for a week.

This patient passed away last night, April 9, 2020, unfortunately. From the admitted COVID-19 related patients to SMMC so far, the conclusion is that patients are predominantly in very poor condition and in most cases, suffer from pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and/or overweight. Currently, one patient admitted remains in critical condition. This information was submitted on behalf of Dr. Felix Holiday, Chairman SMMC Outbreak Management Team.

ESF 7 Food Distribution

Social Services has distributed 677 food packages and will be distributing 400 more food packages over the weekend. We kindly ask that these front-liners are given the respect in order to be able to carry out the assistance being rendered to the most vulnerable in our society. There are also several organizations, as well as Domino’s Pizza, who are donating food to those in need. Several restaurants have called and are also preparing food that will be delivered to those in need. I ask that you be patient, fill out the ‘social assessment impact’ form or call 711 once we’ve announced that it is ready to be in use.

To facilitate our Police conducting efficient controls, a ‘Disaster Relief’ sign will be stuck on the windows of vehicles delivering food packages to homes in the community. If you know that you have made an order for food or expect delivery of food from social services, you will be called. Please do not open your door to strangers. I also ask the community Police and community leaders to take the lead in ensuring that you know who within your neighborhood are in need, so that you may alert social services.

ESF 10 Supermarket Food Delivery

Yesterday, I mentioned that due to the Holidays no deliveries would be allowed on Sunday, however, seeing the grave need for some persons to receive food during this time, I will allow for deliveries not only to continue Saturday, but also this coming Easter Sunday and Monday. Therefore, over the entire weekend, you will be able to receive the food packages that you ordered from the grocery stores.

Collective Prevention Services

We have been seeing some video that is being shared via social media and I am really concerned as it is unethical for you to film or take pictures of CPS workers visiting persons who are in quarantine or in isolation in order to assess and ensure that they remain in isolation. Filming this is against St. Maarten privacy laws and if you are caught you will also be prosecuted.

ESF 8 Communications

I’d like to thank the Department of Communication DCOMM, who are doing an excellent job of promoting information within all sectors of our society. I believe information and education is power. Take the time while you’re at home to study, learn and empower yourself and to teach others about the right way to isolate and the right way to be hygienic in order to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is up to each of us. The government is doing their part, we now ask that you do your part.

From Shutdown to Limited Movement Announcement

During the week, as we move forward, I will be announcing how we will be moving from the shutdown towards limited movement. I would also like everyone out there to know that when I talked about making do with what you had in your kitchens, some of you thought it was funny, some of you thought it was a joke. It is not! This shutdown is not to punish anyone. This shutdown is so that we can stop the spread, assess who has the COVID-19 virus, and hopefully isolate them from spreading it further. This is all it's about.

If you do not have the food you need in your house, now is the opportunity for it to be delivered to you. If you do not have the funds, you are to receive from social services. We are doing our best to cover all the bases and we apologize to anyone who falls through the cracks. But do understand that we are also working with a limited crew of dedicated civil servants and volunteers and I want to give them all the thanks for what they’ve done so far.

Thank you

There is a whole group of people working very hard behind your Prime Minister; The EOC, the Council of Ministers, and their teams. I also want to say thank you to all our front-liners every day and every night we pray for you. We pray for your safety, as you also go through the storms. You cannot stay at home and be safe, you have to go out into the community, you have to make sure that there is law and order, you have to ensure that patients get what they need, and that the pharmacist can share the medication as well.

Be patient

I’m not going to open just yet. I want two weeks of this shut down to be effective and if necessary and we can ensure that everyone can eat, everyone is safe inside and over the next two weeks we cannot yet get enough persons, of course, the shutdown would have to be extended. I am asking you to be patient. In some countries, the shutdowns are 3 months long. We hope that it will not be that long.

As long as we can continue to ensure that you have food, you can stay at home. Stay At Home! As I said previously, Just STOP Moving! It's for your own good. It's for the good of your country and the sooner we get this COVID-19 kicked in the butt, the sooner we can open back our wall, we can open back our towns, we can open back our ports and we can allow visitors, but of course, only visitors who are COVID-19 negative.

Easter Weekend

As we go into our Easter weekend, its not the kind of Easter weekend we’re used to, but let’s make the best of it. Let’s have as many prayer sessions as we can, let’s have as many family gatherings on zoom, WhatsApp, your iPhone, and on whatever medium you think works for you. You can also pick up the phone and call. I wish each and every one a Happy and safe Easter. I pray for the souls of all who have departed. I pray for the families who are suffering from their loss and I wish each and every one much safety and health as we sit out this quarantine together. Be safe St. Maarten!

april 10

ARCHIVE - APRIL 09, 2020 - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – In her daily update, the Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs addressed the nation and provided an update regarding the state of affairs.

The National Address is as follows:

People of St Maarten, both here on St. Maarten and abroad, I hereby address you as Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC for today's update on April 9, 2020. As part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and government’s COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures.  

A strategic meeting was held yesterday, April 8, 2020, with the EOC and this morning, April 9. The disaster management team comprised of ESF 4 and the back office, met with ESF 6, the health section, to strategically plan for the roll out of the dashboard and the use of the data in planning an execution of our mitigation strategy, especially during this lockdown. Later this afternoon, a meeting was held with ESF 5 to further update on how the controls and public order was progressing during the lockdown. 

COVID-19 Cases

Today, I would like to start by updating you on the COVID-19 updated cases as of April 9, 4:00 PM.  

  • Self- Quarantine: 133
  • Self-Isolation: 203
  • Number Tested: 134
  • Number Positive: 50 (2 hospitalized) 
  • Male: 34
  • Female: 16
  • Number Negative: 82
  • Number Pending: 1
  • Inconclusive: 1
  • Deceased: 8
  • Recovered: 3

As such, there are 39 active cases of which 2 are in the hospital and 37 are recovering at home or in our isolation facility. We wish to encourage all those currently suffering from the virus to remain indoors and isolated. We also encourage those caring for them to utilize strict hygiene and follow the directions of the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) and your general practitioner.

EOC Dashboard

The EOC Dashboard to record data and statistics is being developed. This will allow us to be able to mitigate and respond better. This dashboard will be launched in the coming week. Data is being digitalized in order to facilitate CPS in its response to COVID-19 to monitor and report the progress of efforts, as well as to provide empirical data to support decisions to be taken by the EOC.

A Dashboard for the public is also being worked on, which will be a ‘one-stop’ shop for all the information that is COVID-19 related and will be updated daily. The public will be able to go to this site, see the data, changes, as well as everything related to COVID-19 including our Stimulus Plan and all of the press briefings and press statements that have been made.

Delivery Program

Orders from the public must be submitted to the respective grocery stores between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. Grocery stores, both large and small, will have the opportunity to deliver between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Between 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM, employees may work on packaging items for the deliveries of the following day. Each grocery store operator needs to ensure that a priority system is implemented to guarantee that priority is given to orders of the basic necessities. All purchases and orders should be on a strict need-basis only.

The government is also busy with its deliveries of food to the most vulnerable. Over 400 persons have received food boxes and I’d like to thank all the front-liners who are working tirelessly to distribute the food boxes despite the negativity within the community that they are facing. Several persons are trying to steal from or attack these persons.

This is food that the government of St. Maarten has bought and is distributing to persons on their list beginning with distribution to the most vulnerable. Several persons have registered using the ‘social impact assessment’ form.

Those persons will not be receiving food boxes in this first round however, these persons will be included in the second round for the distribution of food boxes. There are over 4000 persons that have registered and we ask for your patients as we assess those with acute needs as well. Persons should ensure that they filled in the address registered at social services and where they are living currently.

COVID-19 Testing

Testing will continue in our efforts to mitigate the spread. CPS will be going out into the community with many volunteers to test, isolate and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Those persons in vulnerable situations where isolation is not possible will be isolated in our facility to further mitigate the spread as well.

Ministerial Consultations

We also continue with weekly consultations on a Ministerial level, as well as with Prime Ministers, Ministers of Public Health within the Dutch Kingdom and also with the Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) Raymond Knops. I would like to thank all the Ministers of Public Health for their cooperation and support in getting the much-needed equipment and medical personnel for St. Maarten. We are ready to deal with any outbreak that may happen on a medical level at this moment.

Liquidity Support

In a meeting held yesterday, April 8, 2020, I was able to update our Kingdom partners on some of the challenges St. Maarten is still experiencing where the number of COVID-19 test kits is concerned and we have been promised assistance in this regard. We also reiterated to our Kingdom partners our preference for a grant instead of a loan, as our liquidity support from after Hurricanes Irma and Maria is already a loan also seeing that the Board of Financial Supervision (CFT) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) have advised that this should also be the case. Our Caribbean kingdom countries CFT and CFATF representatives believe that Caribbean countries and islands in the Dutch Kingdom should be given the opportunity to have “no strings” attached to the liquidity support in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kingdom Council of Ministers met today and I was updated that the liquidity support for 2019 has been transferred to St. Maarten and has been received by the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten. This is not the liquidity support that is related to the COVID-19 request. That request is still being handled and totals 245 million over a period of 3 months to assist not only, persons who have lost their jobs but businesses as well in order for them to keep their employees.

Border Movement & Dutch Royal Military Assistance

Several persons have complained that it is a challenge crossing to the French side of the island. I’d like to reiterate that both French and Dutch St. Martin are working together on the controls and are utilizing the same form for cross-border movement. That is ‘Form C’ on the Dutch side and the ‘Form of Exception’ on the French side of the island. Both forms are valid for both sides of the island for work, caring for the elderly or emergency purposes that cannot wait. The French form is signed by the Prefet Sylvie Feucher and the Dutch form is signed either by Minister of VSA Richard Panneflek, Police Chief Carl John or by my person. Some forms are also being signed by the Minister of Justice Anna Richardson.

Minister of Justice Anna Richardson has requested for the St. Maarten Police to receive the assistance of more Royal Dutch Military (Koninklijke Marechaussee). This request is being processed and we expect that we will have some more assistance on the ground to assist our police force in keeping law and order. Any abuse of the waivers will not be tolerated and the inspectors of businesses and police will carry out inspections. Should any grocery stores be in violation of this, the store will be shut down and fined. 

The Police reported that 80-90% of the population are complying with the lockdown measures, however, there are still youngsters within the community who are behaving very dangerously on motorcycles. Therefore, I ask all parents to keep your children at home, no matter their age. Everyone is expected to remain at home and within the confines of their yard.

In closing, I’d like to remind the people of St. Maarten why we are doing this. We are facing a pandemic of worldwide proportions. Everyone is feeling it all around the world. We must do our part as citizens of St. Maarten to curb the spread of this virus. I ask each and everyone, if you have symptoms that are COVID-19 related, please call CPS at 914 and register.

Please also notify your doctor as they are assisting the government in swabbing their patients and following up to ensure that they are doing well while isolating at home. Those in quarantine are also asked not to venture outside. Pray, reflect, stay inside, take care of your family, spend lots of time with them doing all the wonderful things that you now have the time to do and enjoy. You are safe at home. It is a difficult time, however, we are strong people and we will get through this together. The government is doing all within our power to ensure that the people of St. Maarten are safe but you as St. Maarten people must do what it takes to keep yourselves safe as well.

Good Friday

Tomorrow, April 10, is Good Friday, a National Holiday, as such, no deliveries will be made nor on Easter Sunday, so I am hoping that if you have and your neighbor doesn’t have, that you would share. We expect each and everyone to behave as good citizens of St. Maarten and ensure that people are happy, healthy, and safe. For those with religious and spiritual beliefs in our communities, I call on you to pray. I call on you for a moment of silence for the daily departed; those from COVID-19 and those that are not COVID-19 related. Every life is valuable and we hope to be able to save more lives as our days go by.

Follow our Government Radio station – 107.9FM. For official information, statements and news updates or visit the Government website at www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus and our Facebook Page: Government of Sint Maarten. 

Continue to spread the love that I'm seeing out there and encourage others to keep up their good spirits. Remember that our resilience is not something that we got overnight. It has been handed down by the ancestors and this too shall pass. I would like to wish each and everyone a Happy Easter and as much as we are confined, we are in our home. Share love through social media, share caring through social media, share with your neighbors if you have food and pray that the effects of the COVID-19 virus are less than what we would expect and that we would quickly be over with it and move forward.

God bless you people of St. Maarten. God bless each and every one of us as we reflect and think about this serious season that we are now in. Happy Easter to all!

50 cases

 

 

 

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SHTA Calls for Solidarity as Time Runs Out for Many

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As per the Kingdom Council outcomes of Thursday April 9th, it is very clear that country St. Maarten needs to take its first steps out of the crisis before help from the Netherlands will be forthcoming.   Meaning, that Solidarity in tightening our belts needs to first happen at home; and budget cuts across the Board are expected.

Those actions, together with a timely and qualitative follow-up proposal to save jobs will likely not be available until the May timeframe, but it is the only way forward to (continue to) obtain support and save jobs and livelihoods of St. Maarteners.   SHTA agrees with the conviction of Knops that if help is to be for everybody, so should the burden. SHTA hopes for national solidarity and asks government to swiftly take their share of the burden.

Given the setup of the Kingdom, at this point there is no other way to apply for financial aid than to comply to the demands of the Netherlands. Amongst the clear message of Staatssecretaris Knops was the high payments to Parliamentarians, Ministers and Senior Civil Servants as well as Directors of publicly owned companies, which are amongst the highest in the Kingdom “is intolerable, that people go hungry and that others get paid such high salaries for relatively small islands”.

SHTA repeats its offer to the public sector to share expertise and advice to comply to the demands coming from Holland. It recommends to make use of the social partners’ insights and experience in dealing with economy and labor matters by existing councils like the Socio Economic Council and Tripartite Committee.

Contrary to Aruba and Curacao, neither political parties, the media nor civil society organizations have at this point received insight into the details of the official proposal for COVID 19 relief; the released proposal is not yet funded, and has no clear timeline, the SHTA alerts businesses, to take necessary measures to survive in light that any support may still be far out.

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Preventative COVID-19 measures on Saba extended to April 19 & May 8

SABA—The preventative measures implemented three weeks ago to help avert the introduction of COVID-19 on Saba will be extended. Schools, daycare, after school care and after school activities, bars, hotels, and non-essential businesses and services will remain closed until April 19. Travel restrictions remain in place until May 8.

Island Governor Jonathan Johnson announced this on Wednesday, April 8 in a video address, in which, together with Head of the Public Health Department Dr. Koen Hulshof and Hospital Director Dr. Joka Blaauboer, an update was provided on the current developments and the need to keep the measures in place.

The Public Entity Saba has, based on an assessment of the Outbreak Management Team and the Disaster Management Team earlier this week, taken a number of decisions. The schools, daycare, after school care and all after school activities such as those at Child Focus and Saba Nature Education will remain closed or canceled until Sunday, April 19.

Bars, hotels, non-essential businesses, and services, including non-essential governmental services, will all also remain closed until April 19. Restaurants and bakeries may continue to provide take-out or delivery services only. Businesses are instructed not to allow persons to linger in their establishment for an extended period while waiting for take-out.

The A.M. Edwards Medical Center will remain open until April 19 solely for emergency care and for appointments via the tele-clinic. The residents in the Home for the elderly may only be visited by the one designated care person.

Incoming travel

The restriction of incoming travel by visitors and non-residents remains in place until Friday, May 8. Registered residents who wish to return home, must first put in a request to Island Governor Johnson before travelling to Saba.

Events, social gatherings and family gatherings remain restricted. The Police Force will continue to conduct patrols through-out the island and the officers have the authority to make a case by case assessment of any activities occurring. All instructions given by the police concerning this assessment, must be followed, Johnson said.

Testing continues

Dr. Hulshof stated that so far, 18 persons have been tested. Some of these persons were at the end of their quarantine period after returning from a high-risk area, others because they had symptoms that could fit with COVID-19. All tests were negative. Some of the samples were positive for other germs, which can cause mostly mild flu-like symptoms. “Our regular syndromic surveillance is also not showing unexpected or unexplained respiratory illness. All of this data strengthens our understanding that Saba is still corona-free,” said Hulshof, who added that testing will continue. 

Medically justified

The worldwide pandemic will last for months, and though a partial return to normalcy on Saba is important at some point, this can only be the case if it is medically justified, explained Hulshof.

Because there is still a lot that remains unknown about this virus, it is crucial to be extra cautious and wait at least two full incubation times. The incubation time is the period between when someone is infected, and when they become sick. For COVID-19 this is maximally 14 days.

“Only after the fourth week of the travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, with no cases, can we feel assured that a loosening of the restrictions on Saba is safe. To prevent the introduction of COVID-19, we will have to keep our border restrictions in place for a longer time,” said Hulshof.

Vulnerable clients

Dr. Blaauboer described the measures that are in place at the hospital and at the Home for the elderly. With the Home remaining closed for visitors until April 19, iPads have been made available to the clients so they can maintain digital contact with their family and friends. While it is understandable that people want to greet their loved ones from the street side, it is important to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or 2 meters, to stay on the road and to not enter the building or the porch area. “We understand these measures are unpleasant and might feel impersonal however it is the best way to protect our vulnerable clients,” said Blaauboer.

The measures at the hospital remain the same until further notice. The clinic is open, but people need to first make an appointment for a so-called tele-clinic, a doctor’s appointment via telephone. The doctor will then decide if a physical appointment is needed. The hospital remains open for emergencies, the laboratory is fully operational, and physical therapy continues.

Medical evacuations

Referring to medical evacuations, Dr. Blaauboer stated that the increasing number of infected COVID-19 patients in St. Maarten created a worrisome situation on how to assist Saba patients. She said that even though the St. Maarten Medical Center could still accept patients, Saba didn’t want to put additional strain on the limited capacity there. The Bonaire hospital Fundashon Mariadal has offered assistance by providing an air bridge for emergency patients. “This service is fully established and we had our first medevac to Bonaire earlier this week. We are grateful to Fundashon Mariadal.”

Johnson and Hulshof urged people to stick to the implemented measures. That means, stay home if one has flu-like symptoms, even if they are mild, continue extreme good hand and cough hygiene, and to limit physical interactions with others, keeping the 2-meter distance where possible. “These measures are steps that we are taking to ensure that COVID-19 continues to remain off our shores, we ask for your continued cooperation in maintaining them. This time is a difficult one for us all,  but we must continue to do what is needed to ensure our health and safety,” said Johnson.

Easter weekend

With Easter weekend coming up, Johnson urged people to assume their responsibilities and to refrain from congregating in large numbers at the beach, the bays and at Fort Bay harbor. Naturally, this also counts outside the Easter weekend. “When going there for swimming, please use your discretion. If there are a lot of people, and maintaining the social distancing proves impossible, take your own responsibility and leave.” (SGIS)

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Jacobs at the airport to Receive Medical Equipment from the Netherlands

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - St. Maarten is now the recipient of the much-needed medical equipment sent this morning on the Military C 17 aircraft, from the Netherlands at approximately 2:00 pm on Sunday, April 5, 2020, to SXM Airport.

The equipment was received by a delegation consisting of Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Dr. Felix Holiday representing St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC), ESF 6 Coordinator Fenna Arnell, SXM Airport CEO Brian Mingo, SXM Airport COO Michel Hyman and Head of the Dutch Representation Office in St. Maarten Chris Johnson.  

Along with six (6) Intensive Care (IC) beds including the medical equipment, St. Maarten received Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), COVID-19 testing kits, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) medicine, and COVID-19 medication to treat COVID-19 patients. The equipment consists of a Military ICU facility which will be assembled tomorrow by the marines and the fire department.

The so-called “Hospitainer” will house six (6) fully equipped ICU beds with six (6) additional ventilators to be used within the compound of SMMC. These additional six (6) spaces at SMMC are intended for the COVID-19 patients for St. Maarten.

In addition to these six (6) IC beds, six (6) more IC beds including equipment is expected to arrive in a second shipment. The current six (6) IC beds provided today, to St. Maarten is amongst the forty-two (42) IC beds that the Netherlands has committed to the Dutch Caribbean.

The State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare and Sport Paul Blokhuis and his VWS Ministry were instrumental in the coordination of the medical equipment for the island with strong intervention from the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). According to RIVM, St. Maarten was the first among the islands to receive their units, given the medical capacity and limited resources on the islands.

Additionally, St. Maarten is expected to receive some technical support in the form of additional medical personnel. The team of medical professionals will arrive in St. Maarten on April 7 and 8, from the United States and are all screened COVID-19 negative.

“This forms the first tranche of the aid that the Netherlands has pledged in ensuring the Dutch Caribbean islands and countries can properly deal with the pandemic within our region. We continue to pledge to assist each other where possible, especially our sister islands Saba and St. Eustatius for whom we serve as overflow for medical emergencies even under normal circumstances. We also offer condolences to the Netherlands for the more than 1000 deaths recorded as a result of this COVID-19 crisis and wish each and every citizen of the kingdom and the world much strength as we band together to beat back this monster,” disclosed Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.

The distribution of the PPEs will be registered and distributed by the Public Health Department who will be distributing them to all health care professionals who are involved in the care of COVID-19 patients and are serving at the front-lines of this untimely pandemic.

Currently, the updated count of COVID-19 cases as per April 5, 2020 at 3:00 PM are as follows:

  • Self- Quarantine: 273
  • Self-Isolation: 168
  • Number Tested: 105
  • Number Positive: 37 (1 currently admitted to SMMC)
  • Male: 26
  • Female: 11
  • Number Negative: 60
  • Number Pending: 8 (3 currently admitted to SMMC)
  • Deceased: 6
  • Number recovered: 1
  • Discharged from SMMC in good condition: 3
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Leaked Information, Burial of COVID-19 Persons, Cyber Attacks, Persons with Underlying Medical Conditions

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs on Friday afternoon supported by a number of Emergency Support Functions, gave a press conference.   

The prime minister’s address is as follows:

People of St. Maarten, I come to you this afternoon as Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC in a Public Briefing for today, April 3, 2020.

Leaked Information

It was brought to my attention this morning, that sensitive information that was shared with medical health professionals was leaked to the public and shared on Facebook. Persons who are confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients along with their addresses were shared. This is quite a disappointing turn of events and a serious breach of confidentiality.

The purpose of sharing this confidential information was to safeguard the health and safety of the medical professionals involved. This information was confidential, and persons understood such. This matter will be thoroughly investigated, and the persons involved will be hearing from the police as I have already alerted them of this serious breach of privacy.

Burial of Persons

Regarding the burial of persons who are COVID-19 positive or suspected, the families of these persons have been made aware that the international standards for dealing with deceased COVID-19 positive and suspected persons is to have them buried or cremated. Currently, St. Maarten has limited tomb spaces and no more burial plots. As a result, all COVID-19 patients can only be buried underground or cremated and at the moment there are no more burial plots at the Cul de Sac cemetery.

Cyber Attacks

The population should be aware that now almost everyone is working digitally. St. Maarten is even more susceptible to cyberattacks. Therefore, persons should be cautious of suspicious emails and websites.

Persons with Underlying Medical Issues

Persons with underlying medical issues (co-morbidities) are more at risk and should remain at home if one experiences these signs and symptoms. From the information that is available, we know that there are certain communities that need to step up prevention measures. We are working out plans to have Collective Prevention Services (CPS) and a representative from the St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC) go into these communities. These communities are very religious based and cultural as well.

In addition, employers need to pay better attention to their employees. Once you see your employees exhibiting signs and symptoms please send them home.

Voice Note of a Shutdown

As some persons may be aware, there is a voice note going around the island, stating that there will be a shutdown. I would like to confirm that this is being planned. Due to the increasing trend of fatalities and the rising numbers of cases it is reasonable to conclude that persons who were supposed to be on quarantine and isolation have failed to take the necessary precautions and that persons who are healthy continue to be outside of their homes unnecessarily. It is obvious from the current numbers, that voluntary compliance is not optimal and therefore, further measures will be announced as soon as the decree has been signed off.

Sint Maarten Remains a Resilient Nation

In conclusion, please always remember that even with the stacks against us, St. Maarten has always been and will always be a resilient nation. This resilience has built this country and has been inherited from our forefathers. Much like after Hurricane Luis, much like after Hurricane Irma and Maria and even through COVID-19, St. Maarten will rise again. Even though many are suffering, and these times and restraints can be overwhelming, there is hope. This hope cannot be overshadowed.

Acknowledging the significant impact of COVID-19, let us give thanks for what we do have, and let us find a way to ensure the common good of all. Protect yourself and continue to pray for St. Maarten and her people.

Follow our Government Radio Station – 107.9FM for official information, statements, and news updates or visit the Government website at www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus and our Facebook Page: Government of Sint Maarten.

Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. The safety and security of our population depend on your compliance with our regulations.

God bless St. Maarten and her people as we work together; Government, community and each and every St. Maarten resident, to keep her safe.

St. Maarten Strong, always moving forward. 

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Second person passes away. SMMC COVID-19 capacity increases to 15 beds. Labs cleared for Local COVID-19 Testing

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Hon. Silveria Jacobs gave an update on April 2, 2020 with respect to the state of affairs regarding COVID-19.   

The Prime Ministers Thursday evening April 2nd national address is as follows:

In my last National Address on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020, I gave some updates where the details pertaining to St. Maarten Medical Centre’s capacity in dealing with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients were based on discussions held over the weekend. 

SMMC Capacity Increases to 15 Beds for COVID-19 Patients

I can hereby update you on the current capacity at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). SMMC clarified in a communique of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, and updated a few minutes ago that they currently have 15 beds available; 6 are for medium up to and including ICU care and 9 are purely for medium care. These available beds have been made available for COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 cases.  

SMMC also has three regular ventilators and one mobile ventilator available for ICU patients. At the moment, there are three confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, and three highly suspected cases in the care of SMMC. Thus, from the beginning to now, ten persons have been admitted thus far, three have been discharged, three are critical, two are stable, and one highly suspected case has reportedly passed away this afternoon. I hereby extend sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and wish them and all God’s blessings as they deal with this very tough loss. This brings our total of deceased persons to two, as the previously deceased person has been confirmed as a COVID-19 case as well.

Labs cleared to do COVID-19 Testing

Despite these last rough couple of days, I do have some good news to report. As of yesterday, April 1, 2020, I was informed that local laboratories on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, including HCLS in collaboration with our national lab SLS, are now cleared for testing for COVID-19 suspected patients locally. Results submitted before 3:00 PM will be available the same day. As a result of the ability to test locally, we will be increasing our testing samples. Please, take note that this will most likely result in an increased amount of confirmed cases.   

Prime Minister Jacobs Reiterates Stay Home

SMMC has also reported that the first COVID-19 related death, never reported to SMMC for treatment prior to that day. Thus, the Prime Minister would like to remind all persons to reach out to CPS in the event that you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Additionally, though we are doing the best with the resources we have available and have implemented various measures to expand the capacity at SMMC, the capacity of SMMC is small and therefore the entire population should take the necessary precautions and stay home. 

Sint Maarten to Receive 12 ICU Beds also for Saba and Statia

In more positive news, during our Ministerial Consultation on Health and COVID-19 held this morning April 2nd, between all 4 countries of the Kingdom, including BES, it was concluded that out of the 42 Intensive Care beds being sent by the Netherlands for the Dutch Caribbean Countries and Islands, 12 of these Intensive Care beds will be sent to St. Maarten and no longer 6 as was initially proposed. All 42 beds will serve as an overflow for all Caribbean countries and islands in the Dutch Kingdom. Moreover, St. Maarten is very much appreciative of the opportunity to receive this assistance as we have been making repeated requests for the month.

Quarantine/Isolation Location Found, Being Readied

We are continuously assessing new ways to source the capacities and resources that we have locally and as such, have been trying to partner with various stakeholders and businesses to see how we can identify a location for quarantining and where necessary, for isolation units. We were able to identify a location and have started the process necessary to certify the location for our quarantine and isolation needs. When it is finalized, I will update you accordingly. 

An isolation space has been identified to house COVID-19 positive patients which we expect to start populating as of tomorrow in order to ensure isolation of these cases. 

COVID-19 Update:

In today’s Update on Cases: The total numbers of cases have risen once more. 

  • Self- Quarantine: 273
  • Self-Isolation: 123
  • Number Tested: 82
  • Number Positive: 23 (3 of which are currently hospitalized) 
  • 18 Males
  • 5 Females
  • Number Negative: 41
  • Number Pending: 18 (3 of which are currently hospitalized)
  • Deceased: 2 confirmed (Males)
  • Recovered: 1

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Concerning business closure sanctions, I hereby remind employers that failure to adhere to the business closure regulations in connection with COVID-19 will result in a fine of up to maximum NAF 18,000 in accordance with the list entitled ‘Transaction list related to COVID-19 measures’ as published by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. 

The food suppliers that supply to supermarkets will continue to be able to supply as well as bakeries. As mentioned before, only government construction and emergency services will be able to make use of construction, hardware stores, maintenance, and repair and as of tomorrow evening, only restaurants will be available to those emergency services.

Government assures

As the government, we would like to ensure that you as a family and people of St. Maarten are protected. However, each and every individual has a role to play in this. Ensure that you have activities that you can take part in with your family in your home, especially those students who are keeping up with their schoolwork. This is a great opportunity for parents and kids to bond and show appreciation for the teachers who are going out of their way to continue to enforce learning at home. 

Time to Reflect – Stay at Home

This is a good time to reflect. This is an excellent time to pray. As I conclude with this simple message; we are a blessed nation; we trust, and love God and we should love each other. Yesterday, Minister Irion mentioned that he has not visited his mom in three weeks because he loves her. I would like us to think about protecting our love ones by staying away. We can only stop the spread by keeping isolated or quarantine within our home.  Those of us that have to come out and work are a limited number and this will also ease the burden on our police force as they will have to go to the long haul if we had to go to a total shut down. Yes, this is still possible, so I implore you to follow the directions of the police and if you have no reason to be on the road, stay at home.

The emergency services are included, such as food, pharmacies, going to the doctor, otherwise, you have no reason to be on the streets.  You do not need to be browsing in the supermarkets, just get in buy and get out.

Follow our Government Radio station – 107.9FM for official information, statements, and news updates or visit the Government website at www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus and our Facebook Page: Government of Sint Maarten. 

Be safe St. Maarten. God bless you!

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