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Fast spreading COVID-19 will place a dent on economy and SZV medical funds.

~CPS delays detrimental to the economy and SZV~

PHILIPSBURG:--- The drastic increase in active COVID-19 virus mainly the Omicron variant will place a dent on St. Maarten’s economy and the medical funds of USZV.
There are close to 2000 persons that are currently active with the coronavirus, the last update distributed on Saturday states the active cases were 1477. This does not include the persons that did their self-testing and did not report it to CPS or any of the laboratories on St. Maarten, nor the results of persons that were tested over the weekend.
There are persons who were tested over a week ago and to date they have not received their results, contact tracing for those persons whose results are pending has not been conducted. The consequences of the increased cases will place a dent in the economy in several ways, government institutions, schools, and businesses will feel the effects due to the sick leave payments that have to be made by the businesses and SZV and loss of business. USZV has to pay all persons on sick leave as of the 4th day when they are placed in quarantine or isolation when they are tested positive, Persons tested positive are asked to isolate or quarantine for a minimum of 10 days, six of which have to be paid by USZV.

These establishments including the government do not have the money available to hire more people to replace all those that are out on sick leave. Already St. Maarten is not receiving any liquidity support for the first quarter of 2022, also government cannot assist with food vouchers or food bags because the Netherlands already indicated that the program must come to an end even though St. Maarten has some extra funds to continue.
These consequences in the end might even affect the economy more severely, especially if the CDC (Center for Disease Control), classifies St. Maarten as a level 4 country as it did with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Should this happen then this will definitely affect the cruise season due to negative advice from the CDC. Currently, the CDC lists St. Maarten and stage "3" which means travelers should reconsider their travel plans. 

Minister of VSA Omar Ottley said in an invited comment that CPS had an average of 70 positives per day but that has since jumped to 400 to 500 daily or literally overnight due to the delay in processing the results in a timely manner. Ottley said that CPS has since hired some extra staff and they were also allotted extra phone lines so that they can contact persons that were tested with their results. Ottley said on Saturday and Sunday CPS focused on calling people with their results. He said everyone has to bear in mind that CPS has to deal with COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, vaccines, recoveries, and the baby clinic. “Basically, CPS is overwhelmed with its workload, but they were given extra manpower recently.”

The Minister has said on several occasions that everyone needs to place their hands on deck and act responsibly if St. Maarten is to survive this epidemic.
As the Minister of Labor Affairs, he is obliged to take labor matters into consideration when making decisions for St. Maarten. Ottley said that he was advised by the RIVM to shut down St. Maarten even though the country is not receiving any liquidity support. “This advice I cannot take, I have to work in the interest of my country and its people,” he said on Monday.

Several persons that have tested positive for refusing to test for the coronavirus continue to spread the virus because they are still moving around.
Businesses have been lax when it comes to maintaining the protocols in place even though they are set guidelines.

Entities like the Police Station had to close their doors overnight to sanitize while GEBE has since closed its Simpson Bay office to the public, yet their staff continues to move around as though they are not concerned about the fast-spreading of the coronavirus.

 

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