Statia takes extra precautionary measures to mitigate coronavirus

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius – As a result of recent travel bans implemented by the Central Government and the Government of St. Maarten the Crisis Team of the Public Entity of St. Eustatius has decided to implement extra precautionary measures at, mainly the seaport, to prevent the coronavirus. A travel ban is in effect for all passengers originating from and transiting through Europe, the USA and the United Kingdom. Currently the travel ban does not apply for travel between Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius. As the situation rapidly develops this can change. “St. Maarten is the main transit point for travellers to St. Eustatius. Therefore, travel bans, restrictions and measures taken at the Kingdom government level as well as the level of the St. Maarten government automatically apply for St. Eustatius”.

The following is a list of extra precautionary measures:

Passengers arriving by air and sea will continue to be screened to ensure they have not visited affected countries within the past three weeks prior to arriving in St. Eustatius. Returning residents of St. Eustatius will also be subjected to the same screening, to verify that they have not visited countries and have not been in contact with persons who have visited countries affected by the coronavirus during the past three weeks. This should be considered as a second screening as this is also done on St. Maarten before passengers can actually board the flight to St. Eustatius. The screening involves a series of questions each passenger is required to answer upon their arrival at the airport and seaport.

Only cargo vessels transporting food and general supplies for St. Eustatius are allowed entry. These cargo vessels are required to present a recent medical report 24 hours before entering the port of St. Eustatius. This is a requirement of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Operators of small vessels, mainly fishing boats, that provide passenger transport service between St. Eustatius and neighboring islands are prohibited to transport passengers to St. Eustatius until further notice. The risk of importing the coronavirus is relatively high considering there may be travellers looking for gaps in the system in order to continue travelling thereby ignoring travel bans and restrictions already in effect. Passengers arriving on yachts will not be allowed to disembark.

Statia’s oil transshipment sector requires that crew change and shore leave take place regularly. During crew change and shore leave local agents and employees in the hospitality sector come into close contact with the crew of the tankers. Crew change and shore leave are halted effective immediately until further notice. GTI-management has been informed of this decision. The Public Health Department has advised local agents, who provide service to tankers, to take extra precaution. The Public Health Department will provide instructions. The situation will be monitored and parties will be informed when the ban will be lifted.

The Public Entity of St. Eustatius has placed a ban on travel for all public sector workers. All travel to Europe and the USA is postponed until further notice. This is in accordance with similar measures implemented by the Central Government. Other sectors must follow suit in the interest of the safety and health of their employees. Residents are advised to refrain from travelling unless absolutely necessary.

“These extra precautionary measures are taken to ensure no fish falls through the net. There is currently no known or suspected case of Coronavirus on St. Eustatius. I appeal to all residents of St. Eustatius to continue to be vigilant and to strictly follow the extra precautionary measures implemented by the Crisis Team. You can count on us, but we also are counting on you”, states Government Commissioner Mr. Marnix van Rij. The Crisis Team will continue to keep the community abreast of the developments surrounding the coronavirus.

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