COVID-19 protocol applicable to State Secretary Knops’ visits

State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Rela­tions Raymond Knops will be travelling to St. Eusta­tius and Saba on Tuesday, November 3, and Wednes­day, November 4, to meet with members of the Island and Executive Councils of these two islands.

State Secretary Knops will also visit a number of proj­ects on Statia, such as the renovation of the Smoke Alley hairpin, the Road to Jeems, the water tank of utility company STUCO, the construction of the new airport, the Hospitainer and the Cherry Tree road project.

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Entities St. Eustatius and Saba have implement­ed a specific COVID-19 protocol before and during the state secretary’s visit.

Knops will meet the five re­cently elected Island Coun­cil members in Statia on Tuesday afternoon. These are Rechelline Leerdam, Reuben Merkman, Clyde can Patten, Adelka Span­ner and Koos Sneek. After these meetings, the visits to the various projects will be taking place. Knops and his delegation will leave Statia on Wednesday morning, to continue their trip to Saba. The COVID-19 protocol states that a recent CO­VID-PCR test has to be conducted within 72 hours before the visit to the two islands in the Caribbean Netherlands and that the result of that test must be negative. Delegation mem­bers were tested before leaving the Netherlands and will also be tested dur­ing their visit on Curacao today, Monday, prior to their visit to Statia. Delegation members who have been positively tested will not be allowed to en­ter Statia or Saba. Upon arrival of the five-member delegation, there will be a briefing at the airports about the procedures to be followed. During their visit, the delegation will stay in their quarantine location when there are no meetings planned, and in accordance with the quarantine rules that apply on Statia and Saba.

The rules for Statia are stated in the 16th Emer­gency Ordinance, which was published last week. All meals consumed by the del­egation must take place at their quarantine location. Transport of the delegation takes place in separate des­ignated vehicles, in which no island residents will be present. This means that the delegation members will be driving themselves. A face mask must be worn at all times when they are outside the quarantine location. If a delegation member displays any symp­toms during their visit, in­cluding minor symptoms that could indicate CO­VID-19, the member will not be allowed to leave the quarantine location and a medical examination and a COVID test will take place. The measures taken are in alignment with recent visits of other vital workers. During the visits to the projects the members of the visiting delegation and all other attendees must wear a face mask and en­sure regular hand washing and/or the use of hand sani­tizers.

The public entities will maintain the local contacts limited by not having too many local personnel in­volved with the state secre­tary’s visit.

At all times, an appro­priate distance will be re­quired, where possible of 1.5 metres. Local organi­zations that will meet the delegation members will be informed in advance about the rules of conduct to be applied.

The Daily Herald.

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One comment

  1. Am I the only one to see that the above described protocol has some giant gaps by which the virus could be spread to the islands. At several possible moments, if an infection occurs, the next island will be screwed, and the infection spread.

    And what to think of: “At all times, an appro­priate distance will be re­quired, where possible of 1.5 metres.” So for the people living on the islands the distance rules are different than for these visitors and their future victims.

    Hopefully nobody gets infected, but do you really think that if this occurs, that one or more delegates will stay on an island? You’ll see that, despite protocols, he/she/they will be transported to the Netherlands.

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