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Saba opens doors for leisure travel from low-risk islands

— Transit in St. Maarten not allowed —

Leisure travel be­tween Curacao, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will he possible as of Wednes­day, July 1, if passengers do not transit in St. Maarten, because these islands have a similar epidemiological situation and are very low risk.

Because St. Maarten and Aruba are opening their borders to also North America, leisure travel from those islands to Saba remains prohibited. The possibility of leisure travel from medium and high-risk countries to Saba is not ex­pected before October 1, 2020, it emerged from the latest emergency ordinance of Saba, which remains in force until July 15.

The Netherlands, France and many other European countries, as well as St. Maarten and Aruba are considered medium-risk countries at this moment. The United States, the Do­minican Republic and most South and Central Ameri­can countries are consid­ered high risk.

Persons who wish to travel to Saba for leisure, must send an email to info@Sabagov.nl. The Is­land Governor will make a decision on the request af­ter an advice from the Out­break Management Team (OMT). If approved, the person will receive a letter, which is required for travel­ing to Saba.

The epidemiological situ­ation in Saba is good. The island is COVID-19 free and is still able to contain COVID-19. This means that the alert level is cur­rently scaled down to level 1, which means that mea­sures are relaxed. Bars and restaurants as well as shops and schools are open and there is no enforced physi­cal distancing of 1.5 metres between persons or limita­tions on gatherings.

The focus of the latest emergency ordinance is on the entry through Saba’s borders. Looking at the epidemiological situation in Europe, North America, Central America and South America, and looking at what the sister islands with­in the Dutch Kingdom are doing, the entry and quar­antine policy for Saba has been established to ensure containment and not over-exhaust the Public Health Department and Saba healthcare, the public en­tity Saba said.

The entry policy is risk-based. Each country of ori­gin will be classified in one of three categories by the Public Health Department based on the current level of COVID-19 and the level of spread of coronavirus within the relevant coun­try. Based on the monitor­ing and testing capacity on Saba, at no point should there be more than 50 peo­ple in quarantine.

Outgoing travellers do not need the island governor’s permission, but in many cases persons may require authorisation from their destination country.

If a person is leaving with the intention of returning to Saba, a request for re­turn must be sent to info@Sabagov.nl. The lo­cal government will only facilitate repatriation and essential travel; therefore, arrangements for any other travels are the responsibility of the traveller.

If people wish to go on holiday, they will be in­formed that only Saba residents will be allowed to return, and quarantine will be required if the coun­try to which they travel is categorised as medium- or high-risk, for which they will have to bear the cost themselves. Therefore, it is advised that quarantine requirements be discussed with employers beforehand to determine how this may affect the traveller’s return to work.

The Saba government will publish the valid categori­sation of a selected num­ber of relevant countries on the Facebook page of the public entity Saba and provide updates if anything changes.

Countries selected are those most commonly trav­elled from to Saba. If a person would like to travel from a country that is not categorised, the Public Health Department will advise the OMT and the is­land governor accordingly.

The Daily Herald.

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