PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten’s coronavirus COVID-19 status remains at one.
The second test for the person in Dutch St. Maarten who recently travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) via Miami and is in self-isolation as a result of his first test has returned positive, confirming that he has COVID-19. His spouse has been tested negative, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said on Friday.
In the meantime, contact tracing of persons returning to St. Maarten or suspected of being exposed to the virus has been heightened by the Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS), which is Emergency Services Function 6 (ESF6). A total of 13 persons are currently being monitored for COVID-19.
She stressed that persons who have been identified as having travelled from countries with COVID-19 clusters are required to fill in a form that is being provided to them by the Immigration officer or public health officials at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) informing them of what will be required in the next 14 days.
“These passengers will receive a letter signed by me, and [will be required to – Ed.] sign a document agreeing to carry out the necessary protocol at home,” Jacobs said adding that these documents may now be found on the government website
In the letter the passengers are told that while it may be a challenge, it is very important that they follow the advice to self-isolate to protect their family and others from becoming ill. “This means you must stay at home for two weeks except if you have to get urgent medical care or on the advice of a physician or health care worker.”
They are being urged to not go to work or school or visit public places. They should also not use public transportation or share transportation with others. Previous medical appointments should be rescheduled by phone and activities outside of the home should be restricted. These persons can only be on their balcony if no one else is present. They are also urged to maintain good personal hygiene.
Failure to follow the instructions, can result in government taking legal measures to ensure their isolation for the required period.
The persons are also advised in the letter to contact their family doctor if they or anyone in their home falls ill. They should not visit the hospital or clinic, but call. Questions can also be directed to CPS at tel. 914.
Jacobs stressed that all residents who returned home from March 13 to March 20 and have not received the letter should call CPS at tel. 914 to arrange to receive it. A form will also have to be signed.
Jacobs said she has received complaints that persons are not following the recommendations. “If you blatantly come off an airplane and go into the Government Building, you are forcing [us] to take more stringent measures. This is not responsible behaviour. Adhere to the recommendations,” she stressed.
She explained that self-isolation is a medical term used to refer to the separation of ill patients from other persons to ensure the health safety of persons not ill. Quarantine is for persons who may have been exposed to ill persons, but are not exhibiting symptoms.
“As we know, although we are currently expanding our capacity to deal with extensive COVID-19 outbreak, as we minimise capacity for such. Hence, the shut-down of travel from visitors. Therefore, persons are required to self-isolate in order to protect your loved ones and the rest of the population.”
She said passengers who arrived in the country on Friday afternoon had been required to fill in the forms that were handed to them by Immigration officers requiring self-isolation.
In addition, COVID-19-suspected passengers and their families must sign a mandatory isolation document in which the isolation rules and obligations are stipulated. Passengers who have travelled to St. Maarten from Friday, March 13, should download this document and make themselves known to CPS.
“They are urged, are hereby also asked to voluntarily self-isolate in order to ensure the protection of your family and the population.”