SINT MAARTEN/SAINT-MARTIN – In a very good meeting held on Monday, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs along with senior staff of the Dutch side government met with their French counterparts and the Prefete Sylvie Foucher to discuss the developments surrounding the COVID-19 virus and its presence on the twin nation island.
St. Maarten currently has zero, absolutely no suspected nor confirmed cases of COVID-19. “A situation like this shows how important it is to have good cooperation between the two sides of the island. Our island is an important hub for the region, with a great amount of international traffic. We have an open border and therefore this issue is a joint issue, which we are addressing in cooperation,” said Prime Minister Jacobs.
During the last few weeks, our Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Department have been in close contact with its French counterparts to assess preparedness and measures and to exchange protocols. In the meeting held, The Prefete and Prime Minister Jacobs discussed the situation and plans for the coming period.
The Prefete gave updates on the two patients infected with the virus currently in medical isolation on the French side, wherein it was confirmed that they continue to enjoy good health and show no symptoms. Also exchanged was information on the protocols that are in place in relation to the COVID-19 on both sides of the border.
Another subject we discussed relates to the hub function of our island and the international component. This entails the travel restrictions and procedures at our points of entry. Those being our airports, the harbors and ferry terminals. St. Maarten has upped its sanitary practices for all frontline operations at all the ports of entry and schools.
The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) will continue to offer guidance in this regard as requested by different frontline operations. Preventative measures are being taken to minimize risks and both parties have agreed to remain in close contact where this is concerned.
“A situation like this underlines the importance of good cooperation. This cooperation entails contacts and coordination on an operational level in many areas, sometimes daily, as well as strategic cooperation on a political level in our yearly quadripartite meeting. The subject of public health has only recently been added to the agenda of this Q meeting and I am planning to use the experience with this Corona virus and take this to our next Q meeting with the aim to continue this good cooperation,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.
The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), reminds the general population that they should step-up handwashing and cough/sneeze etiquettes in order to prevent getting the coronavirus COVID-19. CPSs influenza-prevention guidance is to practice daily proper handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol-based hand rub; and cough/sneeze etiquettes (cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing); and throw away your tissues in the garbage bin; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
In accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) regulations, St. Maarten requests of all citizens and visitors that self-isolation should be the first action that one should take if they suspect that they have been in close contact with someone who has the Coronavirus.
Persons with flu-like symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, tiredness) should call their family physician or CPS staff. They should explain what symptoms they have and follow the instructions of the family physician/ambulance staff who will advise them on what steps they should take.
For more information, you can call the following emergency numbers of the Collective Prevention Service: 520-4523, 520-1348 or 520-5283.
FOLLOW-UP: Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM – for official information, statements and news updates or visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirusor and Facebook Page: Government of Sint Maarten.