~ A total shutdown needed in order for St. Maarten to manage this pandemic.~
St. Maarten has recorded its second COVID-19 related death. The first victim died at home while the second died at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). SMN News understands that a COVID-19 patient passed away just after 3 pm on Thursday. Sources say the patient is a 47-year-old male had lived in Cole Bay where he operated a bar.
News learned that the fact the patient was not able to have visitors due to the restrictions in place, some staff members at SMMC were visibly shaken.
SMMC is already struggling to keeps its workforce on duty as nurses and doctors are already panicking with the COVID-19 outbreak and the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). At the moment SMMC only has two ventilators. Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said in her National Address that St. Maarten will receive 6 more ventilators in early April.
While the Government of St. Maarten implemented some restrictions on the movement of people and also closed several businesses, the government may very well have to shut down the island totally in order for them to have full control of this pandemic that is spreading almost like wildfire. A curfew has been implemented but thus far some residents are still violating the measures put in place. KPSM has their hands full as they are busy conducting controls while trying to fight crime. On the night of April 1st, police arrested several persons and issued fines to those not respecting the curfew in place. While the Government of St. Maarten implemented the same measures as the French side whereby people have to have a printed form to be on the public road, several persons on social media are complaining about the new requirement because many persons even professionals don’t have a printer at home. Requesting this form each day also placed additional expenses on people that are already not working.
While we all know that there is no textbook on how to manage this COVID-19 outbreak and this process is a learning one for every country it is time the Government of St. Maarten take the bull by its horns and implement a total lockdown. St. Maarten is already losing economically like the rest of the world, but having people moving around all day and even at night may cause much more harm to the country and its people.
Several countries had totally shut down before they were able to take control of the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Maarten is a small country that lacks all sorts of resources and only thrives on tourism which will be grossly affected throughout the year.
Saint Martin News Network.