Kralendijk – Contrary to the Netherlands, on Bonaire there have not yet been any cases reported of persons infected with the Coronavirus. The island does therefore not need to take extra measures, as done by the Netherlands last Thursday, according to Governor Edison Rijna. “This does not mean that we are sitting quietly. We are actively ensuring that we are well prepared, in the event that local cases of infection with the Coronavirus occur. We monitor the situation very closely, right now there is no reason for alarm.”
The governor is the chairman of the Island Policy Team (Eilandelijk Beleids Team, EBT). This team is activated when there is a disaster or crisis, such as an epidemic. “In the EBT there are representatives of among others Fundashon Mariadal , the police, the fire department, the Marechaussee, the harbor master, and first responders. This EBT team has already held meetings in order to decide how each unit will make preparations. We are also in close contact with the sister islands and the Netherlands, and have made good arrangements for assisting each other. Together we take all possible scenario’s into account.”
According to Rijna, residents should not be worried that the virus will spread via visiting cruise tourists. Cruise ship passengers are only allowed on land, after the ship has provided the harbor master with a valid document regarding the health of the people on board, a Maritime Declaration of Health. Flight passengers are monitored at the airport. The Marechaussee is checking passengers arriving from a high-risk location.
The governor makes an appeal on the population to follow the official advice in order to prevent spreading of the virus. “I call on everyone to wash their hands regularly, and to cover your face with your elbow or paper tissue when sneezing and coughing. The advice is to not shake hands.” Rijna emphasizes that citizens should realize that the situation on Bonaire can change at any moment. “There is a large chance that the virus will appear on Bonaire. The EBT team is taking this into account.”
Residents who have been in a high-risk location during the past two weeks and present symptoms such as a fever, shortness of breath or coughing, are advised to call their doctor. They may also call the special helpline 777 2239. For general information about the virus, residents may call 715 5311, or visit the Facebook pages ‘openbaar lichaam Bonaire’ and ‘Gobièrnu di Boneiru.’