Yesterday August 12th, the OMT had an extra meeting to discuss the current situation regarding COVID19 on St. Maarten and other surrounding islands in our region. There was special attention for the CAS islands (Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten) particularly St. Maarten. As we know St. Maarten is our main hub. The number of covid cases continues to rise on St. Maarten, and the hospital is at capacity mainly due to the delta variant and the low vaccination rate.
Saba uniquely has a high vaccination rate of over 90 percent and we acknowledge that the CAS islands have high covid numbers. We also realize our dependency on vital activities such as, connectivity and health care services.
The OMT therefore decided to create a special list with extra measures for Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten; this list will be called “CAS Very High Risk.”
Measures for travelers from the CAS islands will go into effect as of Monday, August 16th, 2021. All persons entering from CAS islands are required to submit a PCR test taken maximum 72 hours prior to arrival. Vaccinated persons traveling from these islands will not be required to quarantine; however additional measures will be in place and will have to undergo a test on day 5 after arrival.
During these 5 days, we encourage persons to work from home when possible, avoid crowded areas, and wear a mask while in public. Vaccinated youth will need to stay home from school, after school, and other organized activities for 5 days and test on day 5.
All non vaccinated persons quarantine unless coming from a low-risk country. Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons traveling from regular Very High-Risk countries must undergo quarantine for 5 days with pretravel and on island testing.
We would like to remind the community of the following;
• We are in a mitigation phase and no longer in containment. We continue to encourage everyone as a community to take personal responsibility.
• The situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic remains fluid, and the Island Government of the Public Entity Saba reserves the right to change any conditions at all times when the circumstances require it. Adhere well to masking and physical distancing regulations when off-island, even if vaccinated
• Call the Saba Cares clinic should you develop symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose) in the 2 weeks after returning to Saba
• Continue monitoring all communications from the Public Entity Saba
This also impacts the short trips of less than 48 hours between Saba and St. Maarten. For short trips the same applies, except for the pre-travel test. Because the person has only been on St. Maarten for less than 48 hours, there is no need to test before coming back to Saba.
This means that the following applies to the short trips:
1. No pre-travel test is needed, because the traveler has been on St. Maarten less than 48 hours.
2. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons will be tested on day 5.
3. Unvaccinated travelers will still need to be quarantined for these 5 days. Vaccinated travelers do not. They are encouraged to work from home as much as possible and practice responsible distancing by staying away from crowded areas.
On a positive note:
We have started vaccinating youth between the ages of 12 and17. At this moment 64 youth have received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. This vaccination of youth will continue in the coming weeks, for more information you can contact public health.