With two positive COVID-19 cases now on Saba and the mandatory lock-down which went into effect per midnight on Sunday, April 12, the Public Entity Saba is making sure that vital services continue. For this purpose, the government has been working together the island’s businesses owners.
On Monday evening, April 13, Island Governor Jonathan Johnson informed residents that unfortunately a second person tested positive for the corona virus. During the contact tracing by authorities, an additional test was done on Sunday evening which came back as positive on Monday. Johnson said this person had been in close contact with the first positive case.
The Public Health Department immediately initiated contact tracing in relation to the new positive case. This means that more people will have to go into quarantine, Johnson explained. Up to Monday night, there were 70 persons in quarantine, mostly people who had close contact with the two positive patients and their households. This number might increase in the coming days.
Johnson announced on Monday that there will be a delivery system for groceries and for prescription medication from the pharmacy. He emphasized that grocery services will continue and that there is no need for panic or overbuying. He clarified that for certain products, such as fresh produce, there will be some limits to ensure an even distribution among the people. Bakeries will be supplying their products only to the grocery stores. The Meals on Wheels program will continue, and its participants will be contacted with further information.
Persons with farms, animal owners, fishermen and boat owners have received permission letters so they can tend to their daily duties. People in these categories who have not received a letter, can apply for one by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Other persons with certain high-necessity tasks or persons who have cargo coming in on Wednesday, including business persons, can send an application to the same email address.
The gas station will only be open between 8:00am and 12 noon for persons within the essential services and those who have permission letters with a specific task. For cooking gas, appointments can be made for pick-up and delivery.
Saba Electric Company SEC and telephone company Satel are altering their processes. This is being communicated with their clients. The bank will remain closed, but people can contact the RBC if they have questions or an urgent need of banking services. Restaurants are no longer allowed to deliver food.
Island Governor Johnson said that while this is an unprecedented situation, the government is working to cover all bases for essential services. He reminded everyone that a lock-down means that persons without special permission to be on the road at specific times of the day, need to stay home.
Additions and changes can be expected in the coming days to fine-tune these processes. People are welcome to send questions and suggestions to the Government Information Services at email@example.com.
Saba went in a mandatory lock-down on April 12, soon after its first positive case was detected. Johnson informed the people during an audio address on Saturday evening, April 11, that despite all the precautionary measures that were taken with the aim of preventing COVID-19 from being introduced to Saba, one of the tests that were taken returned as positive. The positive test was taken from a person on the island and considered a local transmission as this person had no travel history in the past weeks.
Persons in quarantine will be closely monitored by authorities and tested if they display any symptoms during the 14-day quarantine period. In total, 22 persons have been tested. Two persons tested positive, 18 negative, while the test results of two persons were being awaited.
The mandatory lock-down, which will be in place for at least the next two weeks, was implemented to ensure people’s safety and the health of the community. “We know that this may be inconvenient, but it is necessary that we take these measures to ensure that we contain the spread of this virus,” said Johnson.
The Island Governor reminded people that it was very important to stick to the measures. The local police force will play a central role in enforcing the mandatory lock-down. Instructions from the police must be followed immediately. Persons who don’t adhere to the lock-down will be fined.
The official announcement of the Emergency Measures of April 11, 2020 is available from the website of the Saba Government. At the moment of writing, only the version in Dutch is posted.