Préfet Serge Gouteyron speaking Wednesday on the COVID-19 situation in St. Martin and St. Barths. (Robert Luckock photo)
~ 138 new COVID-19 cases between July 26 and August 1 ~
MARIGOT–Préfet Délégué Serge Gouteyron implemented a curfew for French St. Martin and St. Barths on Wednesday due to the escalating health situation on both islands and a “doubling” of indicators over the past ten days.
The curfew, intended to curb spread of the virus by limiting movement and gatherings, will be in effect from 10:00pm to 5:00am daily until 5:00am Friday, August 20.
Movement will only be allowed for compelling reasons. These include work, health emergencies, urgent family trips, assistance to vulnerable or precarious persons, childcare, care of disabled persons and their companions, missions of general interest at the request of the administrative authority, related to airport transfers or transits, or for the needs of pets.
The latest data from Santé Publique France show a sharp increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in St. Martin (138 during the week of July 26 to August 1 compared to 63 the week before). Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital continues to receive a large number of number of patients, with 13 people in the COVID-19 unit as of August 4, including one on a ventilator.
Two COVID-19 patients passed away in the last two weeks, taking the death toll up to 40 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
In St. Barths, the number of cases of COVID-19 has also risen sharply, with 170 new cases from July 19 to 25 and 167 from July 26 to August 1. Three patients are hospitalised in its COVID-19 unit that has a capacity for only four patients.
The health situation in Guadeloupe and Martinique has been deteriorating for several weeks and the hospital system in St. Martin cannot cope alone. The hospitals in Guadeloupe and Martinique are already fully stretched.
“St. Martin and St. Barths have a very high dependence on the health systems of Guadeloupe and Martinique, which are under heavy pressure recently,” the Préfet said at the press conference. “We must at all costs avoid health evacuations. We must maintain a balance among other patients with conditions that require hospitalisation. And we must absolutely avoid having to deprive other patients of the care they need by changing schedules because of prioritising COVID patients.”
People who need to move during curfew hours must be in possession of a waiver certificate and justification of their situation. This certificate is available on the website of the Préfecture
For business/professional trips a certificate must be signed by the employer. It will be valid for the entire curfew period. Restaurants and drinking establishments will be able to welcome customers until 10:00pm in accordance with the health protocol.
All events are prohibited until Friday, August 20, with the exception of events on the public highway mentioned in articles L.211-1 and following the code of internal security. Sports activities are tolerated behind closed doors. The sale of alcohol to take away and its consumption on the public highway remains prohibited from 6:00pm onwards. Infringement of the rules risks sanctions or administrative closures.
To limit the spread of the virus between St. Martin and St. Barths, travellers by sea as of August 4 must now present either a complete vaccination status or a negative rapid antigen or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result, have a compelling reason for travel, and respect a seven-day isolation period on arrival in the territory.
In addition, travellers from Dutch St. Maarten (via Princess Juliana International Airport or another country classified as “amber” and bound for St. Barths must, if they are not vaccinated: present the result of a negative antigenic or PCR test, have a compelling reason for travel and respect a seven-day isolation period on arrival in the territory. All other travel requirements remain unchanged.
The Préfet once again urges people to get vaccinated and to adhere to social distancing and barrier measures.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/prefet-reinstates-curfew-for-french-side-starting-thurs