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Public entity Statia introduces protocol for returning residents

The public entity St. Eustatius, in close collaboration and consultation with the Health Insurance Office ZVK and the Public Health Depart­ment GGD, has introduced a protocol outlining the procedure and rules under which persons can be grant­ed permission to enter the island. This protocol is in effect for the period of the current fourth Emergency Ordinance which ends on April 30.

“The situation continues to change daily and St. Eu­statius is taking all the necessary precautions to contain this [coronavirus COVID-19 — Ed.] virus in light of the relatively small scale and limited medical capacity on the island,” the public entity said Friday.

The general principles of the protocol take into ac­count the fourth emergency ordinance. However, ex­emptions are possible and the Government Commis­sioner will handle each situation on a case-by-case ba­sis.

Only persons with a valid residence permit who are registered in the Statia Civil Registry (Census Office) and are holders of a valid identification (ID) card will be allowed entry. Persons identified as “suspect” CO­VID-19 patients will not be granted permission to en­ter Statia.

Permission and non-permission for specific groups of persons arc identified in the protocol. Permission will be granted for essential workers and returning patients and companions on strict guidelines. The government commissioner will grant entry for essential workers on a case-by-case basis. This may include requirements that the travel route minimises the chance of infection.

The Public Health Department’s advice is required before permission is granted for the return of ZVK pa­tients and their companions to Statia. Patients who will require hospital treatment on their return and patients who are considered a burden on the available medical capacity while being in quarantine will not be granted permission to return.

Patients who will not be a burden on the available medical capacity while being in quarantine will be al­lowed to return. Their companions will also be allowed to return and will also be placed in quarantine.

Persons in other categories will not be granted entry. The government commissioner can make an exemption based on humanitarian reasons on a case-by-case basis.

“The protocol … outlines that, during the current situation, the maximum of number of persons in quar­antine and or isolation in St. Eustatius at the same time should not exceed 15. All incoming persons will be placed in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. It is possible to shorten the quarantine period provided there is adequate proof of quarantine prior to arrival in St. Eustatius,” said Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij.

The public entity is further tightening travel and quar­antine conditions for persons allowed to enter Statia. The number of passengers in the returning aircraft must allow social-distancing during the flight. All pas­sengers must put on a mask before boarding the air­craft. All persons onboard the aircraft, including pilot and passengers, must wear masks. Charter airlines must supply their pilots with masks.

Once the aircraft has landed at F.D. Roosevelt Air­port, arriving passengers are required to follow the or­ders of the Public Health Department, which will trans­port these persons to the quarantine location.

Masks of the required FFP1 quality may not be re­moved until after the person has arrived at their quar­antine location assigned by the Public Health Depart­ment.

“Stakeholders have agreed to these extra precaution­ary measures, taken in an attempt to ensure there is no new import of the COVID-19 virus to St. Eustatius. A hospitainer [a mobile containerised medical solution offering a customisable range of medical solutions, such as surgical services. It can be deployed on the ground, on wheels or on water depending on the nature of the need.] will arrive here next week.

“We will then make all the necessary arrangements to have this set up and operational within the soonest time possible. Until then no exceptions can be made,” Van Rij said.

The Daily Herald.

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