photo: Tim van Dijk

PHILIPSBURG – The first person on Sint Maarten to test positive for COVID-19 has been put into quarantine. This means that the measures against the novel coronavirus are being expanded. Flights are no longer allowed to land and all schools and ‘non-essential companies’ are no longer open.

Residents on the French side of the island (Saint Martin) are only allowed outside in extraordinary circumstances. Schools and non-essential companies are also closed (supermarkets and drugstores are seen as essential and are open).

Only residents can return to the island
During an additional press conference the prime minister, Silveria Jacobs, just announced that only residents with a valid Sint Maarten ID-card or proof of registration can return to the island.

Return flights for tourists
Visitors currently on Sint Maarten are allowed to leave the island. Air France KLM was on the island today to pick up passengers. Medical and technical specialists are only allowed to visit Sint Maarten by invitation of the government.

Obligatory self-quarantine
All residents wishing to return to the island have to go into an obligatory self-quarantine. Individuals who are symptomatic – even those who have not travelled abroad during the last couple of weeks – can call 914 or their doctor.

The lab on Sint Maarten (Sint Maarten Laboratory Services) can test for 19 variants of influenza and after that the samples can be sent to Guadeloupe for COVID-19 testing.

Hospitality industry closed from Wednesday
On the French side of the island the hospitality industry has been in a mandatory lockdown since the 17th of March. But on the Dutch side everything was still open on the 17th. Until Wednesday, because all companies have to close then, except for essential companies such as drug stores and supermarkets.

Other stores chose to shut down before this such as the Belair Fitness Center. McDonalds chose to shut down its restaurant but keep the drive through open.

Freight services will not be stopped. “It’s not a hurricane, there’s water, electricity, and internet. Don’t hoard products”, the prime minister urged during the press conference. She also urged everyone to maintain proper physical distance from each other.

‘Corona infection not official yet’
The man suspected of carrying the virus travelled to the United Kingdom via Miami. The first test carried out on Guadeloupe was positive, the RIVM in the Netherlands still has to confirm this result.