~ Testing will be done in Guadeloupe.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Stakeholders that are part of the EOC along with its chair held a press conference on Friday afternoon to update residents on some of the decisions taken by the Government and EOC to tackle the COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Jacobs in her presentation said the government took a number of decisions this past week one being adding Germany and Spain to the restriction list. Restrictions have changed from 14 days to 21 days for persons that may be in countries that have the COVID-19.
Residents that have been in areas that are on the restriction lists will be asked to self isolate at home as recommended by the World Health Organization.
Jacobs said that the Government of St. Maarten will not prevent residents of the Netherlands from entering St. Maarten, residents of St. Maarten and St. Martin, these persons will be urged to self-isolate until their health status is verified and they are cleared of COVID-19. Persons that are not residents of St. Maarten/ St. Martin are advised that if they were in restricted areas within 21 days prior to arrival on St. Maarten will not be allowed entry.
LANDING PERMITS placed on hold.
Prime Minister Jacobs said that there is a hold on landing permits for persons to enter St. Maarten until the COVID-19 is under full control globally.
CARNIVAL POSTPONED, SHOWS MAY BE HELD DURING SUMMER VACATION
Prime Minister Jacobs said that while the 2020 Carnival was postponed the vacation days during the Carnival season will be maintained, she said that government suggested to the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) to hold some of the shows during the summer vacation, however, she stressed that no additional days will be given if these shows are kept.
RESTRICTION on TRAVEL for Civil Servants
Government has placed a hold on work travel for its civil servants until the end of April or further notice. She advised that residents should also put their private travel plans on hold unless absolutely necessary.
She said the government will not put its employees in a situation where they would not be able to enter St. Maarten in the event of a lockdown.
HOARDING OF FOOD ITEMS ARE NOT NECESSARY.
Prime Minister Jacobs called on residents to not panic and hoard food items as they met with wholesalers who guaranteed that there are enough food items on the island. She said while there are shutdowns in some countries, the trade will continue, this she said was confirmed by wholesalers.
TESTING TO TAKE PLACE IN GUADELOUPE.
Testing for the COVID-19 will be done in Guadeloupe since the turn around is shorter. She said Aruba and Curacao already have cases of COVID-19 and they have also stepped up their security plans.
MEDICAL SUPPLIES such as masks are available.
The chair of EOC said St. Maarten masks and other medical supplies in stock but warned residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves by following proper hygiene, washing hands with soap and water or use of alcohol-based sanitizers.
Persons that may have flu-like symptoms are advised to call their family doctor.
She called on persons on St. Maarten/ St. Martin not to share anything that is not from trusted sources such as the World Health Organization or other Government notices.
Jacobs called on residents not to panic as measures are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, she said thus far there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19, despite the two cases that were quarantined on St. Martin.
Jacobs said should there COVID- 19 cases there is a shutdown plan that will be activated, shutdowns will be dependent on the types of cases. Schools will be closed if necessary as the first step. Gatherings with over 100 persons are not allowed. This she said will affect churches and schools.
Government also decided to postpone carnival celebrations, while meetings with the French and Dutch are planned for Monday while EOC will be meeting on Tuesday.