PHILIPSBURG — The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), Richard Panneflek hereby informs the public that effective Monday, April 5, travel restrictions from the ABC islands to St Maarten will go into effect.
Considering the regional epidemiology and consequent likelihood of imported cases from highly concentrated pools of the UK variant (B.1.1.7), together with the absence of systematic nationwide genetic surveillance on Sint Maarten, CPS recommends temporary border closures to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, effective immediately. CPS would review the situation on each island on a 2-weekly basis.
Returning residents from Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba will be required to hold a negative 72-hour PCR test. It is advised that these residents be retested 48 hours after arrival.
Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (ABC) are experiencing high COVID-19 transmission. These three islands have strong travel connections with Sint Maarten. While anyone traveling from these islands to Sint Maarten now requires a negative 72hr PCR, CPS remains concerned that the magnitude and exponential growth of cases in these locations result in a higher probability source for imported cases into St Maarten.
Importantly, the ABC islands have recorded a significant number of cumulative B.1.1.7 l?UK variant? cases to date, identified and recognized globally as a Variant of concern. Internal communications between public health agencies currently indicate that 75% of new cases in Curacao are due to the UK variant. Furthermore, the rapid transmission and high magnitude of cases reflect the rapid transmission experienced in SE England at the time of UK variant emergence.
Minister Panneflek urges all Dutch side residents to be a part of the solution and register to be vaccinated.
To register for the COVID-19 vaccine via the online registration form which is available in English, Spanish, and Creole, and can be found via this link: forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb or by paper registration which can be found at Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labour Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.