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Country Shutdown Coming

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – A complete shutdown of the country is coming, that is what Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) said on Friday afternoon during a press briefing.

Jacobs said that everything related to a national shutdown is being planned, and that it is coming. A national decree has been prepared and sent to the Governor for his review and signature.

The prime minister pointed out that the measure was necessary in order to save lives and protect the people of Sint Maarten due to the increasing trend of COVID-19 positive cases and persons not staying at home or adhering to the other measures that have been preached and repeated week in and week out such as social distancing etc.

The prime minister will announce when the national decree related to a complete country shutdown will take effect.

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Travel Movement Forms A, B and C and Impact Assessment Form Downloadable to Smart Phones

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Travel Document Forms A, B, and C are now available on the Government Website for download on smart phones. The COVID-19 Social Impact Assessment Form is also available for download. The forms can also be filled in online as well.

Persons can use their desktop or laptop to download the forms and fill them in online, but for smart phone users, this option allows the person to show their phone to authorities at police control points.

The public can go to the following link to download the three forms that they need into their smart phone: http://onlineservices.sintmaartengov.org/covid19

The link will bring you to the page “Covid 2019 Forms and Assessments.” On this page it gives you the option to either select Form A, B or C.

The Ministerial Regulation implemented on Monday, March 30, 2020, will require citizens to carry a Form A ‘Professional Travel Proof’ document on them, signed by their employer, declaring the need for them to travel to work. Please fill in this document and carry it with you in the event that you are stopped by the authorities - Professional Travel Proof - Form A.

Employers can sign the form once it has been filled in by the employee and electronically send it back to the employee to save on their smart phone and then can use that saved version to show police officers at control points.

All St. Maarten residents needing to travel for essential services will be required to carry a Form B ‘Personal Travel Waiver ' document found below. Please fill in this document and carry it with you in the event that you are stopped by the authorities - Personal Travel Waiver Exception - Form B.

In an effort to reduce the possibility of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All residents of St. Maarten/St. Martin needing to cross the border will only be able to do so for either work purposes or health purposes and will be required to carry a Form C 'Certificate of Exemption​' document found below. Please fill in this document and carry it with you in the event that you are stopped by the authorities - Certificate of Exemption - Form C.

The Social Impact Assessment Form can be found at the following link:

http://onlineservices.sintmaartengov.org/covid19/SIAForm.aspx

There are several sections on the form that needs to be filled in such as Section 1 “Personal data,” Section 2 “Financial/Employment data,” and Section 3 “Basic Needs Assessment.”

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364 vehicles and 412 persons controlled on March 31 at the borders

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - To fight the spread of the virus and save lives, one word of order: stay at home, the Prefecture of Saint-Martin said on Thursday.

The French and Dutch law enforcement forces are mobilized to ensure respect for the lockdown and measures of travel restrictions. The checks take place at the border points and throughout the French part of the island of Saint-Martin, the Prefecture of Saint-Martin said on Thursday in a statement.

364 vehicles border checks were carried out on March 31.

Everyday control points are established at the borders. For March 31, the Gendarmerie, Border Police and the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) controlled 364 vehicles and 412 people. Only cross-border workers and persons justifying urgent health travel are allowed to travel between the French and the Dutch part of the island.

The controls will increase, and the penalties are considerable if there are repeat offenders who do not abide by the travel COVID-19 restrictions.

The Prefecture states that the first step has been taken to explain the instructions to users, but now law enforcement will step up controls.

The personal certificate must be completed and along with an ID must be presented at each check point.

It must be filled with indelible ink pen directly by the person wishing to go out. It can be downloaded on the prefecture's website and Facebook page. People who do not have a printer can copy this certificate by hand. This document is to be filled with each new outing on the public road based on necessity.

The proof of professional travel must be stamped and signed by the employer, whether French or Dutch. It is only valid for essential professional trips and must be filled in once. It now has a limited period of validity. If this document is not completed properly and / or if it does not bear the company's stamp, it is not valid.

In order to travel on the Dutch side of the island, people must obtain the personal certificate set up by the Sint Maarten Government available at: http://onlineservices.sintmaartengov.org/covid19

Border control thur apr2

 

 

 

 

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Face masks during outbreaks: Who, when, where and how to use them

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN (PAHO/WHO) — The use of face masks during outbreaks of viral illnesses such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has only been shown in scientific studies to be effective for protecting healthcare workers and to reduce the risk of sick patients spreading the disease.

Based on that evidence, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) recommends the use of face masks by:

  • People who have respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing, including when they are seeking medical attention—to protect others around them.
  • People (including family members) who are providing care to individuals with respiratory symptoms.
  • Healthcare workers, when entering a room with patients or treating an individual with respiratory symptoms, and according to the type of care that will be provided.

Wearing a face mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections in any of these circumstances and should be combined with other personal protective measures, such as hand hygiene, keeping your distance from people with symptoms, and respiratory hygiene (or cough etiquette).

“No preventive measure is 100% effective in preventing infection but practiced together they can reduce the chances of spreading infection”. 
PAHO Deputy Director Jarbas Barbosa

Recommendations for the general public

Studies have shown no clear benefit from face mask use for people who are not sick. Some research shows that people can become infected from touching a contaminated mask they have been wearing or by removing it incorrectly.

During an outbreak such as COVID-19, the following measures may help people to reduce their chances of becoming infected:

  • Wash hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand rub. Always wash with soap and water when hands are visibly soiled.
  • Refrain from touching your nose or mouth, which are common routes of contagion.
  • Avoid crowds and limit your visits to closed spaces with people.
  • Avoid handshaking and other forms of physical contact.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from any individual who is showing respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing or sneezing).

If you do have symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or having difficulty breathing, the recommendations are:

  • Wear a face mask, in case you are infected, to prevent further disease spread.
  • If not wearing a mask but coughing and sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with your flexed elbow or a paper tissue, then dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.

“This is a new virus,” said Barbosa referring to COVID-19, “so we are still gathering information about it. But the evidence already available is showing that it is similar enough to other viruses that we are fairly confident these recommendations are good advice for reducing the chances of infection.”

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French Saint-Martin confirmed COVID-19 cases climb to 22. Three have recovered

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – On Wednesday, April 1, the Prefecture of Saint-Barths and Saint-Martin announced that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased by one (1) to 22. Three persons who were in self-isolation at home have recovered.

There are now seven persons in hospital, and this increased by one.

For the French island of Saint-Barths, the number of confirmed cases remains at six (6); one remains at home in self-isolation and two have recovered bringing the total who have recovered to five (5).

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Traffic restrictions between Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten in place until April 15

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - Since March 2020, 23, lockdown measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and save lives. Unfortunately, still too many people do not follow the instructions and are allowing the disease to spread, the Office of the Prefecture of Saint-Barths and Saint-Martin said.

For this reason, the Prefecture and the government of Sint Maarten have decided to strengthen travel restrictions on the island.

Traffic between Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten is limited until April 15, 2020.

Going to Dutch Sint Maarten from French Saint-Martin will be strictly limited to the following reasons:

- Going to your workplace if telework is not possible.

- Getting around for an urgent medical reason.

Cross-border workers must be in possession of their proof of professional travel signed and signed by their employer as well as their certificate of travel.

The transport of goods remains allowed to move between the French and the Dutch part of the island.

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Economy expands in 3rd Q 2019. Economic performance diverges in monetary union

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Economic performance continued to diverge in the monetary union between Curaçao and Sint Maarten during the third quarter of 2019, according to estimates of the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS).

“Real GDP in Curaçao fell by 2.1% in the third quarter of 2019 compared to a contraction of 1.7% in the third quarter of 2018. By contrast, Sint Maarten’s economic growth rebounded to 5.6% following a deep contraction of 4.7% in 2018’s third quarter,” stated interim CBCS president Dr. José Jardim in the CBCS’s third Quarterly Bulletin of 2019.

Meanwhile, consumer price inflation in Curaçao slowed from 3.1% in the third quarter of 2018 to 2.8% in the third quarter of 2019, while in Sint Maarten average consumer prices remained practically unchanged in the July-September period of 2019 with an inflation rate of 0.1%, Dr. Jardim added.

“A review by sector shows that the manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, and transport, storage, and communication sectors contributed primarily to 2019’s third-quarter economic contraction in Curaçao. Real output dropped in the manufacturing sector due mainly to lower production activities at the Isla refinery stemming primarily from a lack of crude oil,” Dr. Jardim explained.

“The construction sector posted negative results due to the completion of several major projects in the tourism sector and a drop in maintenance work at the Isla refinery. Meanwhile, real value added shrank in the wholesale and retail trade sector on the back of the drop in domestic demand, moderated by an increase in tourism spending and more re-exports by the free-zone companies,” he continued.

“The poor performance of the transport, storage, and communication sector was caused by a decline in both airport-related and harbor activities. Real value added also contracted in the utilities sector as reflected by a decrease in water production moderated by an increase in electricity production.

“By contrast, activities in the restaurants and hotels and financial intermediation sectors developed positively in the third quarter of 2019. Real value added expanded in the restaurants and hotels sector, although at a slower pace than in 2018, reflecting weakened growth in stay-over tourism combined with a decline in cruise tourism. The financial intermediation sector performed well, reflected by an increase in net interest income and fees and other income of the local domestic banks,” Dr. Jardim explained regarding Curaçao’s economic performance in the third quarter of 2019.

As for Sint Maarten’s economic performance in the third quarter of 2019, Dr. Jardim stated “that real output growth in the manufacturing sector was sustained by increased yacht repair and services activities. Growth in the restaurants and hotels sector was driven by a sharp increase in stay-over tourism, moderated by a decline in cruise tourism.

The growth in stay-over tourism was supported by increased hotel room inventory and the partial restoration of the Princess Juliana International Airport. The disappointing performance of cruise tourism was in line with the decline in the number of cruise ships that visited Philipsburg.

In the wholesale and retail trade sector, real value added went up supported by the increase in domestic demand and more tourism spending. Meanwhile, the gain in the real estate, renting, and business activities sector, particularly the timeshare industry, was in line with the sharp increase in stay-over tourism, notably from North America.” He added that the utilities and financial intermediation sectors also contributed positively to real GDP growth during the third quarter of 2019.

“The expansion in the utilities sector was driven by a sharp increase in the production of both water and electricity. Meanwhile, real value-added growth in the financial intermediation sector was consistent with the increase in net interest income and fees and other income of the local commercial banks,” Dr. Jardim pointed out.

He explained further that growth in the construction sector remained flat as the increase in new construction projects was offset by the winding down of repair and reconstruction activities following the hurricanes in 2017.

“The transport, storage, and communication sector, however, recorded a contraction due to a decline in harbor activities as reflected by a drop in the number of ships piloted into the harbor, notably freighters and cruise ships, and a decline in container movements. By contrast, airport-related activities rose as reflected by an increase in passenger traffic in line with the rise in stay-over arrivals,” Dr. Jardim concluded.

The complete text of the Report of the President and the Bank’s third Quarterly Bulletin of 2019 can be viewed on the Bank’s: https://www.centralbank.cw/publications/annual-reports-quarterlybulletins/2019

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Police cautions community to be alert due to an increase in armed robberies of scooters and Robberies committed using a scooter

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - The Special Unit Robbery is investigating an armed robbery with a firearm that took place on Grapefruit road in St. Peters, police said on Friday in a statement.

On the scene, the police patrol learned that five men all dressed in dark clothing, one of the men armed with a handgun, approached a scooter rider who was parked on the side of road.

Under the threat of the weapon they forced the rider to hand over his scooter.

After robbing the young victim of his scooter, the suspects fled all in different directions.

The police force is asking the community of Sint Maarten to be vigilant, since there is a slight increase in armed robberies of scooters owners and robberies being done with scooters over the last few weeks, police said on Friday.

We are urging the community to come forward with information concerning these crimes. Only together we can stop these types of combat crimes, the police stated in their Friday police report.

The detectives investigating this armed robbery case is asking anyone who has information about this robbery to contact the Sint Maarten Police Force, at +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line on 9300 (free of charge).

You can also visit the website at www.policesxm.sx to report crime anonymously via the tip contact form, or you can leave a Private Message via their Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten) if you know or suspect something. (KPSM)

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SHTA launches business survey to assess economic impact Covid19

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In order to assess the economic damage for country St Maarten in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) over the past 24 hours launched a business survey.

The assessment is meant to make as accurate as possible an estimate of economic damage done by the pandemic. Contributions are welcomed from both member and non-member companies, as the association sees any contribution as help to our collective economic wellbeing and national interest.

In conjunction with the other business associations, the SHTA has directly started working on assessing what the economic fallout could be over both a 3- and 6-month timeframe.  It welcomes additional associations like those of tour and taxi operators, (para)medical associations and others to join and fill out this enquiry. 

The survey (website address: shta.com/survey-covid19) is accessible for any business that has not yet contributed to the research. Submissions are anonymous and will be only used in amalgamated settings per (broad) sector.  

Together, SHTA and its fellow associations represent 70% of the employed in the private sector. The associations stress the more accurate the analysis will be, the better the country will be able to prepare befitting solutions.

The SHTA and its partner associations call on members and non-members to share the link with all their business contacts.  The research will be updated daily, and results will be shared by the shta.com/survey-covid19 web page as well as Facebook https://www.facebook.com/262644475130/posts/10163825683675131/?d=n.

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Prime Minister Jacobs receives COVID-19 update from Prefet Feucher

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Monday, March 23, met with Prefet of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin Sylvie Feucher, as part of their weekly COVID-19 consultations.

Jacobs was informed about the latest COVID-19 preparedness and response actions taking place on French Saint-Martin, and the Prefet also received an update about Sint Maarten’s preparedness, response and mitigation measures. 

“The cooperation of working together to synchronize our islands (Sint Maarten/Saint-Martin) fight against the coronavirus disease COVID-19, has been an on-going effort since it was declared by the World Health Organization as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

“This cooperation continues on a daily basis as part of our joint preparedness, response and mitigation measures where various entities exchange information of on-going developments, and this is essential in preventing community transmission on the island.

“As Prime Minister, I would like to assure the general public that the Governments of both sides of the island have taken measures to protect public health and safety, and will continue to work together to get through this global crisis,” Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs said on Wednesday.

The Prefet said that the French side is still in a position with local resources to deal with COVID-19, and the tracing of persons is being carried out when necessary. Both the Prefet and the Prime Minister agreed to maintain open communication where it concerns the confirmation of new COVID-19 positive cases.

Both Governments will work towards establishing a protocol of cooperation that would lead to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The Sint Maarten Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications would also be included when formulating the MOU.

Representatives of the Police Forces from Sint Maarten and Saint-Martin will be meeting to discuss current COVID-19 procedures that have been implemented.

The Republic of France is at a Level 3 (the highest level), but Saint Martin is at Level 2.  The current measures will continue to be evaluated and adjusted as needed. 

Restrictions on French Saint-Martin will continue for a two-week period. Regarding air travel, restricted charter flights are allowed as well as cargo.

Air Antilles airline is providing limited essential air travel service between Saint-Martin (Grand Case), St. Barths and Guadeloupe for the following reasons: urgent health related matters (dialysis, urgent surgeries, chemotherapy treatment); an essential family member can accompany the patient; and professional travel for crisis management officials. 

A similar arrangement is in place with our national airline Winair with respect to limited services between Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius and Curacao (emergency medical evacuations, health professionals and technical assistants).

Stay Safe, Stay at Home, Wash Hands Frequently for 20 seconds; Don’t Touch Your Face; maintain Social Distancing of up to six feet; Avoid Groups of People; Don’t Share Items between Each Other such as cell phones etc.; Practice Respiratory Hygiene if you Cough (in your elbow), Sneeze in a tissue and throw it in the bin; & Stay Healthy!

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information, and news updates or visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus or and Facebook Page: Facebook.com/SXMGOV  

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