It was a joyful event at ED. Roosevelt Airport in St. Eustatius on Sunday, February 14, when dialysis patients from St. Eustatius and Saba disembarked from a chartered EZ Air aircraft. Many family members and friends were on hand to welcome the returning patients after their absence of almost ten months.
As the masked patients disembarked the aircraft, they were holding gift baskets. Members of the St. Eustatius Health Foundation were on hand along with Accessible Ventures Statia to make sure the dialysis patients had a comfortable journey to their quarantine locations.
Gathered family members of the General Health Insurante Office ZVK patients were able to speak with their returning relatives from afar. The Saba dialysis patients who arrived on the same aircraft were soon transferred to a waiting SXM Airways aircraft which flew them to their final destination.
A civil aviation ban over the airspace of the Caribbean Netherlands was instituted in April 2020. Due to the ban, regular flights to Statia ceased and only chartered flights with the permission of the Island Government were permitted.
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic the dialysis patients would travel to St. Maarten three times per week — on Monday, Wednesday and Friday — for treatment. Because of the aviation ban this was no longer possible and this resulted in the patients being transferred to St. Maarten.
After the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in St. Maarten became a concern, the Department of Public Health, ZVK and St. Eustatius Healthcare Foundation (SEHCF) arranged for the dialysis patients to be relocated to Curacao in August 2020. The patients remained there since then.
One ZVK dialysis patient from Statia was left behind in Curacao due to medical issues.
The returning dialysis patients are expected to travel to St. Maarten three times per week for treatment.
The Daily Herald.