Resurgence of COVID-19. Two Clusters Identified. Enforcement Measures. Mass Gatherings Scaled Back | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Council of Ministers (COM) met today (Ed Saturday), July 25th, in an urgent meeting with key Emergency Support Functions (ESF) coordinators, and Collective Prevention Services (CPS) representatives to discuss and address the rapid and alarming increase of COVID-19 cases over the past few days. As such, the Council of Ministers took the decision to take corrective measures to mitigate and contain the further spread of the virus in the community, while maintaining key services to the general public.

The Council of Ministers is very appreciative and would like to thank CPS for their tireless efforts in monitoring, and carrying out source and contact tracing which has proven to be very effective in informing the Government and the general public as to the latest COVID-19 developments.

Two Clusters of COVID-19 Identified

Due to their diligence and systematic analysis of contact tracing they were able to identify more cases in a short period of time, and have identified at least two (2) clusters which is helpful in being able to contain the spread of the virus.

Enforcement measures related to mask usage, social distancing within the community

The Multidisciplinary Taskforce established during the period that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated, has been formalized in a Ministerial Regulation signed today, July 25, 2020, by Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs. To further strengthen the ability of government in enforcing the COVID-19 measures, the Ministers of Justice and the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) will issue their respective Ministerial Regulations in the coming days related to mask usage, social distancing, and enforcement thereof within the community.

Enforcement Team

The COVID-19 Multidisciplinary workgroup will continue to monitor, evaluate and advise the Council of Ministers related to the implementation of COVID-19 regulations and measures necessary. This workgroup consists of ESF 5 representing Police and the Justice chain, ESF 6 representing Public Health, ESF 7 representing Social Development, ESF 9 representing General Affairs, and ESF 10 representing TEATT.

This workgroup will be chaired and supported by ESF 9 and will coordinate the COVID-19 Enforcement Team to work together in order to carry out the necessary inspections aimed at ensuring that the guidelines and all protocols are adhered to.

Decision taken to Scale Back Mass Gatherings

As a result of the advices received, the Council of Ministers took the decision to scale back mass gatherings which includes ‘entertainment’ as mentioned in Phase 4 of the Economic Re-opening Plan. These are namely, bars, night clubs, dance establishments, adult entertainment establishments, bingos in casinos, as well as large public gatherings. The aforementioned types of entertainment establishments and gatherings will only be able to operate if proper social distancing can be enforced according to the protocols as per the mandatory guidelines published in the Economic Re-opening Plan for all businesses on government’s website.

The protocols also include establishing a maximum number of patrons allowed in these high-risk establishments at one time, as well as submission of operational plans from the business or organizer for approval by the COVID-19 Multidisciplinary Taskforce.

These measures are deemed necessary based on the current developments and increase in positive COVID-19 cases, which are significantly related to lack of adherence to and enforcement of the guidelines in these settings. Government, businesses, and the general public have a role to play in this. Members of our community are hereby advised to avoid large gatherings and being in close contact with persons whose status is unknown.

Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “The choices we make will determine how quickly we recover from this latest resurgence within our community. Government will continue to take all measures necessary to keep the general public informed and encourages all to take the measures seriously as we work to rebuild our economy and ensure the livelihood of our people in these challenging times. We want, at all costs to avoid another economic shutdown, so we implore all to adhere strictly to the mandatory guidelines as prescribed. A National Briefing will be held tomorrow afternoon to further update the community.

Source: Souliga Newsday