St Maarten: Remain calm, stay informed, be prepared for coronavirus
The St Maarten government has at the top of its list of priorities, educating the population and ensuring that the relevant authorities are equipped to deal with the coronavirus.
That’s according to Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Silveria Jacobs.
During an address to the nation on Saturday she said St Maarten has no probable or confirmed cases, but even so the government is continuously assessing and addressing its levels of preparedness to contain the spread of the virus should a case be identified on the island.
PM Jacobs said the EOC met twice last week and it was decided that travel restrictions are necessary to further mitigate the islands exposure to the coronavirus.
She said travellers who have visited China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore within the last 14 days, will not be allowed to enter the island.
These restrictions, she explained, do not apply to nationals of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Prime Minister said “Established protocols as related to cruise travel will also continue to be strictly enforced in order to safeguard the safety and security of our residents, as well as maintain our good reputation as a safe and viable destination for our visitors. We are serious about the prevention, mitigation and response to the COVID-19 virus. These measures are deemed necessary even as we work to increase our capacity to effectively deal with the challenges which would arise should cases be identified.”
She said more options for quarantine and isolation spaces have been identified, to increase capacity to provide medical services in a safe and controlled environment in the event of an outbreak.
Prime Minister Jacobs urged citizens and visitors to remain calm, stay informed and be prepared as countries all around the world are either already affected or expect to be affected within the near future.
“As Prime Minister of St Maarten, I wish to encourage all of us to remain steadfast in preparing for what is to come. Just as we prepare for hurricane season every year. Knowledge is power! Stay informed and be prepared. Ensure you have a disaster preparedness kit that can sustain your family for at least 14 days. We are strong, resilient and faithful people and trust that this too shall pass. God bless St Maarten and her people and God protect her shores," she said.
According to the Prime Minister, the Heineken Regatta which ran from March 5 to 8, adhered to all established protocols laid down by the health department and an assessment will be conducted soon thereafter.
She said St Maarten’s Collective Prevention Services will continue training to at the Princess Juliana International Airport and the Red Cross will provide training sessions on proper hygiene and handwashing techniques at schools this week.