THE BOTTOM - Saba has placed St. Eustatius back in the low-risk category, while Bonaire returned to its medium-risk category status. Island Governor Jonathan Johnson announced these positive developments in an audio address on Friday, November 6.
According to the updated risk categorization, Statia, Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis are low-risk areas from which no quarantining or testing is necessary on arrival in Saba. Bonaire and Canada are qualified as medium-risk, meaning that quarantining is necessary on arrival, but no testing is needed.
Island Governor Johnson explained what this means for Saba residents returning from Bonaire and Statia. “Travel to and from St. Eustatius is possible without quarantine. Bonaire’s medium-risk status allows persons to travel to Bonaire for medical purposes and to follow the strict [Heath Insurance Office] ZVK protocol in order not to have to quarantine when returning to the island. Other travelers from Bonaire still have to quarantine.”
Quarantining and testing before and after arrival remain in place for the high-risk areas: Curaçao, Aruba, St. Maarten, the Dominican Republic, Europe, South America, Central America and North America (except Canada). “St. Maarten remains at high-risk level, just as the Netherlands and the United States,” said Johnson.
The good news is that the mandatory quarantine time will go down from 14 to 10 days. Quarantine has proved to be a highly effective measure during this pandemic, explained Johnson. “We all know that it is beneficial and necessary to prevent the introduction and further spread of COVID-19.”
However, there is also a downside to long quarantining. “It can take a toll on a person and negatively affect income, school results and physical and mental health. Recent evidence shows that more than 99 per cent of infected people show symptoms 10 days after exposure. By continuing to test people from high-risk areas at the end of quarantine, we can reduce the risk even further.”
Taking these factors into consideration, Saba authorities decided to reduce the quarantine from 14 to 10 days effective immediately. Non-essential travelers can come to Saba per November 1, but the measure that all incoming persons must first seek approval before coming to the island remains in place. A request for entry can be mailed to email@example.com.
Johnson reminded the public about the restrictions at Juancho Yrausquin Airport. “There is no entry unless you are a passenger, an employee or conducting business. Persons wishing to visit the Winair office, pick up packages or conduct any other business can do so after receiving permission from the security officer on duty.”
Also, it is mandatory to wear a face mask inside the airport building. Persons have to bring their own mask. Persons saying farewell to passengers, or welcoming arriving passengers must remain outside the building.
Johnson assured the people that a solution is being sought for the fact that many Sabans need to visit the notary in St. Maarten for official business. People with an urgent situation that requires the immediate services of a notary are asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.