PvdA, D66 seek clarity on islands’ COVID-19 situation

Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament At­tje Kuiken of the Labour Party PvdA and Antje Di­ertens of the Democrats D66 are concerned about the COVID-19 developments on the Dutch Carib­bean islands and seek clar­ity from government.

The two Members of Par­liament (MPs) on Tues­day posed a list of written questions to State Secre­tary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ray­mond Knops in relation to the recent increase of COVID-19 infections and health care, in particular in Aruba, Bonaire and St. Eustatius.

The MPs wanted to know if the state secretary was aware of and what his opinion was on the excep­tions that the public en­tity St. Eustatius has been making for persons from unsafe countries with re­gard to the obligatory 14-day quarantine period.

Knops was asked whether he had been in touch with the public entity St. Eusta­tius to ask how many times this exception had been made, for whom and the reasons why. The MPs re­quested that this informa­tion be shared with Parlia­ment.

Kuiken and Diertens spe­cifically enquired about the inspector for corona-virus tests, who turned out to be COVID-19-positive after his arrival in St. Eu­statius last week. The in­spector in question was exempted from the quar­antine. The MPs wanted to know where and when the inspector had been tested.

“Do you agree that the exemption from quaran­tine without a prior test leads to undesired health risks and that this case has resulted in other un­desired additional conse­quences for St. Eustatius, such as stricter measures and a curfew? If you agree, what measures are you go­ing to take to limit the use of exempting people from quarantining by the pub­lic entity St. Eustatius?”

The MPs were also wor­ried about the recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Aruba, and the urgent situation that has developed at Horacio Oduber Hospi­tal as a result. They asked whether the state secretary had been in touch with the Aruba government to dis­cuss this matter.

“Do you see possibilities to support Aruba to get through this crisis? What consequences does the situation in Aruba have for health care in Bo­naire, which still does not have active Intensive Care Units (ICUs) for coronavirus and does not have test capacity?”

Kuiken and Diertens asked whether Knops was willing to strengthen the medical capacity in Bo­naire so the island can pro­vide for its own intensive medical (corona) care and to also set up independent testing capacity so full, lo­cal testing can be done.

The MPs further wanted to know whether a sec­ond deployment of the Dutch Navy’s largest ship HMNLS Karel Doorman has been considered to support medical care in Bonaire and the other is­lands. Kuiken and Diertens also asked for an overview of the developments in the Dutch Caribbean with re­gard to the COVID-19 in­fections.

The Daily Herald.

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