Wednesday, April 15: Four more positive COVID-19 cases for Dutch side, 12 now recovered

St. Maarten recorded four additional positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases up to 57.

In giving some good news Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) said an additional seven persons have now recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 12.

The number of persons in self-quarantine stands at 99. A total of 144 persons are in self-isolation; 163 persons have been tested; 57 positive cases; 103 negative cases; two pending and one inconclusive. The positive cases include 38 males and 19 females. A total of six persons are hospitalised of which five persons are confirmed COVID-19 cases and one suspected case.

Jacobs – who released the figures to Members of Parliament (MPs) during a Parliament Central Committee meeting on Wednesday evening – said the overall figures show that 63 per cent of the cases tested are negative; 82 per cent are recovering from the highly infectious virus with a 12 per cent mortality rate. She said the mortality rate is based on seven of the nine recorded COVID-19 deaths as two of the deaths are persons with other underlying medical conditions and it is inconclusive whether they passed away from COVID-19.

Suspension on alcohol sales on SAt. Maarten lifted from today

Persons who missed their favourite libation over the past few days due to the suspension of the sale and purchase of alcohol can now breathe a sigh of relief, as the suspension has been lifted.

  Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs told Members of Parliament (MPs) on Wednesday that the sale and purchase of alcohol will be permitted again as of today, Thursday. Supermarkets around the country will be reopening their doors to the public today, Thursday, and tomorrow, Friday. However, consumers are advised to make purchases within their respective districts as much as possible.

Jacobs told MPs that the sale of alcohol had been suspended because supermarkets had been reporting that many consumers had been ordering alcohol when the delivery system was implemented and this contributed to a delay in supermarkets being able to tend to orders for essential items. The delivery system was introduced so that essential grocery items could get to persons who needed them during the lockdown.

Supermarkets, bakeries, gas stations banks, pharmacies On St. Maarten open today, Friday

Supermarkets and grocery stores, bakeries, banks, gas stations and pharmacies on St. Maarten are allowed to open from 8:00am to 6:00pm today, Thursday, April 16, and tomorrow, Friday, April 17, to serve the public, but must observe strict social distancing guidelines.

Funeral services can also be conducted as well as services at funeral homes, provided that no more than 20 persons participate. The latter is only possible if seating capacity allows for social distancing to take place.

The public must take measures to protect themselves by wearing a mask and sanitising their hands and persons without an urgent need to be on the road are advised to remain at home. The opening of the essential services is part of measures from government to relax the two-week lockdown ahead of the 14 days to allow residents to obtain essential items that they may need.

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs outlined the measures at the end of a more than six-hour-long meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament on Wednesday night.

For the opening of the essential services mentioned today and tomorrow, the public is permitted to make use of the public road from 7:30am to 8:00pm to purchase food and other essential goods necessary for their basic needs. Supermarkets will be allowed to continue with the delivery of food and essential goods to consumers. Jacobs said there is no need for consumers to “flock” supermarkets if they do not have an urgent need and there is no need for “binge shopping.”

The ministerial regulation authorising these changes was signed on Wednesday. In addition to the ministerial regulation, the national decree would be amended to extend the state of emergency under new conditions. The details of this will be explained in the coming days. Moving forward, as of next week it is expected that residents will be allowed to shop three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The relaxation of the lockdown measures was taken after evaluation by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is chaired by Jacobs. It was advised that the possibility be created for persons to be able to do their grocery shopping and other essential needs to maintain at least their basic needs.

“Stay home if you do not have an urgent need,” Jacobs said. “You are allowed only to move for urgent and necessary reasons.”

She urged the population to adhere to the safety measures for their own health and that of the population noting, “The life you save may be your own.”

Jacobs had said on Sunday, April 12, that reducing the possibilities of domestic abuse occurring in homes during the current two-week lockdown was another reason behind the move to temporarily suspend the sale and purchase of alcohol.

She said at that time that reports were being received that there had been an increase in cases of abuse occurring in homes. Persons are under stress in the current situation and she had been advised that the use of alcohol exacerbates violence in the home and government wanted to diminish this.

Children are not in school and are therefore unable to report incidents that occur. Children and other persons in the home are in need of protection. While some cases of abuse occur outside of the home, most cases take place “between the four walls of our homes” and the culture of silence is not helping the situation.

“We would like to do our best to protect everyone,” she said at the time, noting that while alcohol may be a “vice” for some it can also lead to aggressive behaviour in others. She maintained that the measure to suspend the sale was for the “greater good” and for the protection of the community.

She said on Wednesday that while alcohol can now be purchased again, persons should not be abusive.

“Don’t get drunk and beat on your wife and children,” Jacobs urged during the parliamentary meeting.

The Daily Herald

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