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.