PHILIPSBURG, SINT MAARTEN – As we are closing the year and entering into a new one, we can reflect on lessons learned from the experiences gathered on how to adequately deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time to look forward and continue to find a balance between health, safety, and the economical sustainability of our country.
The pandemic has taught us that we need to constantly follow developments both regionally and worldwide, and the importance of having a well-defined risk management approach that allows us to constantly adapt to our protocols so we can be both competitive in our main industry and create opportunities to work on the social wellbeing of our population.
“I am pleased to have taken notice of the decision of one of our sister islands- Curacao. I have been in personal contact with my colleague, Minister of Health, Mrs. Zita Jesus- Leito concerning their new travel protocols,” Minister Panneflek stated.
Curacao, which has always been very conservative in their approach to COVID-19 and their travel requirements; will no longer be requesting negative PCR tests for passengers traveling from St. Maarten, in the new year.
“I am always in favor of managing the best way possible and minimizing the exposure risk to our people and its visitors,” said Minister Panneflek. We all know by now there will always be some degree of risk, which we will have to balance with the socio-economic wellbeing of St. Maarten.
The year 2021, will continue to bring new developments regarding dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking everything into consideration, we have made the following decisions:
There will be two (2) risk categories; low and high. The risk categories will be by country or by region and should constantly be monitored to see if adaptation is necessary. As stated, many times before this pandemic brings constant adaptation of the requirements.
Residents/ travelers from countries or regions of low risk, who in the last 14 days prior was not in any high-risk country/ region will need to fill in the mandatory health declaration (EHAS) at www.stmaartenentry.com, no later than 24 hours prior to their travel to St. Maarten. No PCR or antigen test is required.
For the countries and regions which are not on the low risk list, and are still being considered high risk, the requirement of filling out the health declaration form (EHAS), at www.stmaartenentry.com and the PCR, which can be substituted by the approved or emergency pre-approved FDA antigen test, with the test number, remains the same. Through monitoring the developments worldwide, the list of low-risk countries will be adapted. The current list will be expanded to include the following Dutch Caribbean countries: Aruba and Curacao.
Minister Panneflek wishes all a prosperous and safe transition from 2020 into 2021. May the new year bring you prosperity, good health, and joy. Have a wonderful New Year surrounded by those who are dear to you.