MARIGOT—The Préfecture has responded to the Collectivité’s communiqué following the meeting with the Préfecture on Tuesday, clarifying the position of the State but ultimately standing by its decision to control the borders to reduce spread of the virus.
It said the July 10, 2020, decree provided for territories with an active circulation of the coronavirus to be included in annex two of the decree. Due to the deterioration of the health situation, St. Martin was included in this annex since August 27.
The listing carries several legal provisions and grants Préfets of territories powers to fight the epidemic, protect populations and promote conditions for recovery.
It was in this context that a review of the COVID-19 situation was held with elected officials from the Collectivité and the State representatives in the Préfecture.
The first objective of the meeting was to share the health situation of the territory with all the attendees. Regional Health Agency representative Pascal Godefroy presented the current figures in St. Martin: 153 active cases, of whom 18 are in hospital, including three in intensive care in Guadeloupe. Some 135 are in isolation at home while a total of seven patients have died.
“These figures have been rising steadily since the start of the lockdown and proportionally places St. Martin among the most affected areas (per capita) at the national level,” the release stated.
“Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital Director Marie Lampis disclosed the entire medical service of the hospital is reserved for COVID-19 cases. Half of the intensive care beds in the Guadeloupe hospital are occupied by St. Martin patients.”
The Préfecture agrees with the wish of the elected representatives of the Collectivité to quickly find conditions for a return to normal social and economic life by ending the controls.
However, this objective is dependent on a positive evolution of the health situation. Any slackening in the face of the epidemic would wipe out the efforts made to date by health professionals, the population, and would delay decline of the epidemic, which is an essential condition for sustainable development and a gradual lifting of health prevention measures.
Thus, in view of the figures recorded for COVID-19 cases in St. Martin, the situation on the Dutch side, border controls and the control of establishments receiving the public -especially bars and restaurants which are required to exercise the highest level of vigilance in adhering to hygiene barrier measures- these mandatory requirements are, at this moment, maintained.
“The Préfecture reiterates that, with limitation of population movements, hygiene barrier gestures measures offer the best protection that we know of at this moment. The Préfecture encourages everyone to implement them and strongly encourages use of the mask. It is through a common civic commitment against the virus that we will be able to overcome this epidemic and revive the local economy,” the release concluded.