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Statia receives Hospitainer unit

St. Eusta­tius has received a hospital container unit that was made available by the Dutch Min­istry of Public Health, Wel­fare and Sport. Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij said the Hospitainer unit was flown in from the Neth­erlands and shipped from St. Maarten to the port of Statia, where it arrived on Wednes­day morning.

The Hospitainer will be placed on a land lot behind the old English and Jewish cemeteries. Over the past week, the public entity St. Eustatius has formed a task force aimed at managing the installation of the six-contain­er unit. The ground in the area needs to be prepared and levelled, and cement poured before the containers can be put in place.

The government ap­proached several local con­tractors, and Statia Construc­tion was awarded the contract on Tuesday, April 21.

The project includes clear­ing and compacting the area, and pouring a cement slab on which the hospital container

can be set up and secured. A sewage system will be built and water and electricity in­stalled, all within a period of two weeks. Once the grounds and utilities are installed, a technical team will fly in to arrange for the actual setting-up of the container hospital, which is estimated to take one week.

“Most likely the hospital container will not be imme­diately operational, because this week the Ministry of Health is looking for medi­cal staff for the hospital con­tainer and this, of course, in­cludes coordination between the Public Health Depart­ment and management at Queen Beatrix Medical Cen­tre,” Van Rij said.

Van Rij said the island gov­ernment hopes that with the Hospitainer operational, the medical facilities in Statia will be at the right level. “This means we have basically two hospitals available on the is­land.”

V i d e o

In preparation for the third emergency ordinance, Van Rij said it had been decided to close a number of busi­nesses, whereas a number of essential businesses were allowed to provide services under strict guidelines, which included restaurants. Dining at restaurants is not allowed, to ensure social-distancing, but restaurants are allowed to be open so that they can offer takeout service.

Van Rij said he had been at an establishment in Lower Town on Friday evening, April 17, waiting for his take­out order while respecting social distancing and not hav­ing any drink. While waiting for his takeout order Van Rij observed a number of people sitting around a table.

“I was totally surprised about what was happening there be­cause that was, in my opinion, in conflict with the emergen­cy ordinance. At no time did I approach this group. I did, however, strongly address the situation together with police officers of the Police Force of the Caribbean Netherlands, with the owner of the estab­lishment, [pointing out — Ed.] that this practice was and is in direct conflict with the emer­gency ordinance.”

Van Rij said a video had been made of the incident. “The video was sent to the Dutch central government, creating the impression that I, the government commission­er was acting in conflict with the emergency ordinance. This is far from the truth. The police officers and the owner of the establishment know what really happened. I know who the producers and the distributors of the video are. I wonder why these persons did this, why they sent this video … to suggest that I was not respecting the rules.”

Van Rij invited these persons to his office to speak face-to-face and said he hopes they have the courage to come in and speak to him. He said that he and Acting Govern­ment Commissioner Alida Francis “always” work in full transparency.

“We remain committed to the work we are doing, and we will continue to be open to the residents of the island,” he said.

The Daily Herald.

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