~Students, residents have 2 days to return home ahead of ban~
PHILIPSBURG–All international flights and cruises originating from the United States of America, Europe and the United Kingdom to Sint Maarten will be cancelled for two weeks as of Tuesday, March 17, Chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said in a national address today, Saturday.
As of March 14, up until and including Monday, March 16, there is an opportunity for St. Maarten students studying abroad and residents as well as essential personnel to return to the country ahead of the two-week travel restrictions.
The travel restrictions do not apply for regional air and sea travel at this time. Travel within the Dutch Caribbean: Saba, St. Eustatius, Bonaire, Aruba, and Curacao remains in place until further notice. This travel restriction also applies to other seafaring vessels.
Jacobs said arrangements will be put in place for visitors to return home with their carriers. Cargo flights/vessels bringing in food supplies, household goods, oil, gas, as well as medicine will continue. Also allowed, will be travel by technical and medical assistants whether via commercial or chartered airlines.
“All residents and nationals traveling back to Sint Maarten from the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom during this period, are recommended to monitor their health for 14-days for consistent cough, fever or respiratory problems (consistent with COVID-19) and maintain a social distance for the safety and security of the community. If you experience the aforementioned symptoms, please call your family physician. Do not go to your doctor or the medical center. During the phone call with your doctor, you will be advised further what actions should be taken,” she stressed.
The PM said these preventive measures are to limit the exposure of the Sint Maarten people to COVID-19 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe and the United States of America and based on the World Health Organisation (WHO’s) declaration on Wednesday, March 11, that the coronavirus has become a global pandemic. “Based on this declaration, the Government of Sint Maarten has stepped up its preparations and today March 14, after deliberation with the Council of Ministers and the EOC a number of decisions have been taken,” she said.
No food shortage
She reiterated that there is no food shortage in the country and as such there is no reason to engage in panic buying or hoarding of food. “There is a sufficient supply of food and medication on the island. We remain in constant contact with our suppliers and have been assured that replenishments will continue.”