St. Maarten registers first positive Covid-19 case. This case is not yet deemed a confirmed case. A second test is necessary to give the case this status. The second test is on the way in the Netherlands.
Jacobs also announced that schools will be closed as of Wednesday, March 18 for a period of 2 weeks. The first week of closure will be a vacation week using time from the planned carnival break. She said after that period schools can hold essential classes and the examination classes, if possible.
According to Jacobs this decision was taken in order to stop the process of spread of COVID-19 within schools and to monitor in the event there are cases.
All non-essential services will be shut down in an effort to help mitigate the spread of the virus. This will go into effect on Wednesday from 12:00am (today, Tuesday at midnight) for a period of two weeks.
Travel restrictions have been changed. The minister said as of today, March 17th at 12:00pm only Dutch side Maarten residents with a valid form of identification (ID) or proof of registration will be allowed to travel to St. Maarten until Friday, March 20th.
Regional airlines will continue to come only until 12:00am tonight, after which all flights will be restricted unless bringing in St. Maarten residents. Persons who are on the island can leave the island on these departing flights.
These restrictions do not apply to persons travelling at the invitation of the government, medical specialists or technical assistants.
Jacobs said all returning residents and crew members are required to adhere to a mandatory self-quarantine, meaning self-isolation in their homes, for 14 days. These persons will be monitored by the department of health.
Air and sea cargo shipments will not be affected by these restrictions, said Jacobs. “This does not mean any products, services or goods won’t be able to come into St. Maarten,” she said.
Jacobs asked the public to continue to practice social distancing, while reminding everyone to remain calm and call the CPs hotline 914 or their general doctor if experiencing symptoms.
A press conference will be held at 7:00pm this evening to update the public on the details of government’s response to COVID-19 and recent developments.