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St. Maarten: Shutdown can be extended if necessary

The two-week shutdown introduced to stem the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus COVID-19 can be extended if it has to be, Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs said on Friday evening.

“I will not open up as yet. I want two weeks of the shutdown to be effective and if necessary, and we can ensure that everyone can eat, and everyone is safe inside over the next two weeks and we have not yet isolated enough persons, of course it will have to be extended. So, I am asking you to be patient,” Jacobs said.

“In some countries, it (the lockdown) has been for three months long. We hope that it will not be that long. As long as we can continue to make sure that you have food, you can stay at home. Just stop moving. It’s for your own good. It’s for the good of the country and the soonest we get this COVID-19 kicked in the butt, the sooner we can open back our towns and ports and allow visitors, but of course only visitors who are COVID-19 negative.”

She plans to announce how the country will move from the current lockdown stage to limited movement sometime during the course of the coming week. “When I talk about making do with what you have in your kitchens some of you thought it was funny and a joke, but this shutdown is not to punish anyone. It is to stop the spread, assess who has the virus and hopefully isolate them from spreading it any further,” she stressed. “This is all it is about.”

She said persons without foods in their homes, can receive assistance from the department of social services, but they will have to register. “We are doing our best to cover all the bases and we apologise to those who fall through the cracks.”

The Daily Herald.

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