Government and Port St. Maarten representatives on a conference call with FCCA President Michele Paige to discuss the latest developments in the cruise industry and preventive measures being taken by the cruise industry to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
PHILIPSBURG–Representatives of Port St. Maarten and the Ministries of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA and Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) held a conference call with Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) President Michele Paige on Tuesday, January 28, to discuss the latest developments in the cruise industry and preventive measures being taken by the cruise industry to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Present for the conference call were VSA Secretary-General Joy Arnell, TEATT Secretary-General Miguel de Weever, Department of Collective Preventive Services (CPS) Section Head Maria Henry, and Port St. Maarten senior officials Richard van der Mark, Ton van Kooten, and Roger Lawrence.
“It is essential to be focused on prevention by keeping abreast of what other stakeholders are doing during these crucial times, and to share accurate information about the current status of the coronavirus in the world and in the region,” said Arnell and De Weever in a press release on Friday.
“We do this so that we are operating on the same page and that we are assisting each other where need be. By doing this, we are ensuring that the people of St. Maarten and our visitors are, or will be, protected from the coronavirus. It is essential that we protect our shores and the country from the risks of this virus by mitigation and containment,” they said.
Paige said the cruise industry has been “working diligently” to prevent cases of the coronavirus on board cruise ships by monitoring passengers for symptoms. There are medical doctors and staff on board to handle passengers who are sick and there are facilities to isolate and quarantine persons, she said.
According to Paige, cruise ship crew and food handlers follow a strict hygiene. She also said FCCA is in “constant communication” with the United States’ Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its partners and agencies.
The Port St. Maarten officials said there are “centralised and well-known” procedures and protocols for medical treatment which are currently in place.
“The best thing we can do is share information, discuss the plans and be prepared for any eventualities,” according to the press release.