Dutch Second Chamber Tweede Kamer

Letter to Dutch Parliament, Updated Queries Concerning The State of Affairs Regarding Covid19 on St Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, Statia and Curacao

Page 1 of 5: Date February 1, 2021
Subject Update questions of the state of affairs regarding covid-19
in Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and Sint-
Eustatius
The President of the House of Representatives
of the States General
Box 20018
2500 EA The Hague


Dear Chairman,
In your letter of 21 January, you request the State Secretary for the Interior
and Kingdom Relations for an update on the state of affairs with regard to covid-19
Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius. Also on behalf of the
State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations I will inform you
Room on the state of affairs in all Covid-related areas.
General picture and epidemiological situation
The situation in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom is currently for the
most islands stable. For the figures I refer to table 1. Curaçao and
Bonaire saw a significant increase in the number around and after the holidays
infections. As a result of the tightened measures that the
authorities in Curaçao and Bonaire have taken is the incidence and number
hospital admissions, however, fell sharply. This has resulted in Curaçao at 13
January has relaxed the measures slightly. The number remains on Sint Maarten
active covid cases range from 100 to 150 patients. There are
however, currently no hospital admissions. Last week was on St. Eustatius
for the first time since August an infection was again detected in a
traveler. Last week, a traveler was also infected on Saba
noted. Both persons were in quarantine and are on
this moment in isolation.
In Aruba, the numbers have increased in recent weeks. In recent days, however
a slight decrease. There are concerns about willingness to test. The
current measures taken by the Aruban authorities remain
for now until January 31st.

Page 2 of 5: Table 1: Figures RIVM as at 26 January
Maximum to check (incl. care vulnerable persons Bonaire St.
Eustatius Saba Curaçao Aruba Sint
Maarten Number of positive tested
people total (since yesterday)

  • * Includes 1 resident of the French side of St. Maarten

– ¹ including 1 resident of Saba

2 The cumulative number of hospital admissions is determined from the
case registers. These are not (especially for Aruba and Sint Maarten)
completely complete. The cumulative number of hospital admissions is therefore running
behind on reality. The number of current recordings is correct.
Mutated virus variants
On January 25, there were five during sequencing of samples in Aruba
infections with the British mutation of the coronavirus. It is
two travelers and three residents of Aruba. There is some evidence that local
transfer has taken place. Further research is currently underway.
To date, there is no mutated variant of the virus on the other islands
found. The travel restrictions for passenger transport from Aruba to Curaçao
and Sint Maarten have therefore been tightened from 26 January. For travel to the
public bodies had already applied entry measures from Aruba for some time.
Measures
On all six islands there are measures regarding social distancing and hand hygiene
and entry restrictions have been imposed. Because of the epidemiological situation
differs per island, other measures apply everywhere. So there is on
Curaçao and Aruba currently have a curfew. In addition, there are limitations
group sizes, on Bonaire, for example, restaurants may not exceed 50% of the
Use capacity and private gatherings may consist of a maximum of two
households exist.

Page 3 of 5
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba use a roadmap, drawn up per
island in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. On the basis of the
roadmap can take measures from the Temporary Act measures COVID-19 through
the authorities are turned on and off, depending on the phase in which the
islands are located. Bonaire is implementing measures at the time of writing
by corresponding to phase 4: serious, due to the current epidemiological
situation, the taxability of public health care and the potential
introduction of the virus. The measures taken by the authorities in Saba and Sint
Taking Eustatius corresponds to phase 1: vigilant.
Entry policy
For the Caribbean Netherlands, as in the European Netherlands, one currently applies
flight ban for the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia,
Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, French Guiana,
Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. In addition
a negative PCR test result and additional negative antigen test result
mandatory for almost all travelers from high-risk areas. To the obligation for
a negative antigen test within the European and the Caribbean part of
Netherlands are currently the ministerial regulations for Bonaire,
Saba and Sint Eustatius adjusted.
Curaçao distinguishes between high and low risk countries. Travelers from
low-risk areas must complete a Passenger Location Card. Travelers from
high-risk countries must also be able to submit a negative PCR test
before being allowed to travel to Curaçao. Curaçao has indicated on short
also ask travelers to ask for negative antigen test results
high risk areas. Sint Maarten currently uses a mandatory one
negative PCR test result or antigen test result for travelers of at most
120 hours old. This will be due to developments in South America
returned to a PCR test no more than 72 hours old. Aruba just required
if the other islands have a negative PCR test result, a
health certificate and travelers must take out special insurance.
All six islands are currently not classified as high risk for
European Netherlands. This applies to travel to the European Netherlands from
the Caribbean part of the Kingdom is currently undergoing PCR tests
antigen testing is not mandatory and travelers do not have to quarantine
arrival. Conversely, the European Netherlands is becoming a high-risk area
designated for the islands. Travelers coming from the European Netherlands to the
Caribbean part of the Kingdom travel will therefore have to take into account
with the different entry measures of the islands.
(Commercial) test capacity
In recent months, investments have been made in the development of
test capacity, which is currently sufficient everywhere. From St. Eustatius and
Saba tests taken are sent to the laboratory on Sint Maarten.
Tests taken on Bonaire are often read in the laboratories
Curacao. In addition – especially on Bonaire – work is being done on expansion
of the commercial test capacity, given its importance for international markets
to travel. A testing working group is developing commercial test capacity in this context
for both PCR and antigen tests. Also in Curaçao and Aruba are in the past
period, opportunities for commercial testing were realized.

Page 4 of 5
Care capacity
With the support from VWS in the field of medication, IC equipment and
care personnel (doctors and nurses) are currently in sufficient IC
and medium care beds to treat all covid patients. It’s not yet
needed to transfer patients for reasons of local capacity shortage
place. In Aruba, some of the elective care has been scaled down in connection with
the corona concern, which is currently not an issue on the other islands. Also
the interinsular patient transport can proceed to a sufficient extent, often
under strict conditions.
Requests for assistance and support from the European Netherlands
The European Netherlands currently supplies care providers on all islands
personal protective equipment. IC equipment is available at all hospitals
medication supplied.
Various forms of support have been provided to the Caribbean Netherlands.
This includes doctors and nurses for the service
public health, the general practitioners on St. Eustatius and the hospital
Bonaire. Also are an infection prevention expert (DIP), crisis coordinators and
equipment provided for the vaccination. There is a hospitainer on St. Eustatius
set up to serve as an isolation unit for patient care.
Since the start of the pandemic, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have been delivered
medical personnel provided through a US employment agency. There is the
PG departments provided medical support, and financial support to
recruit local staff for source and contact research. In addition,
The Netherlands also provides them with equipment and project managers for the
vaccination program.
Vaccinations
In the letters to Parliament from the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport of 4 January last and 12 January last, 1
information has been sent to your House about the vaccination strategy for the BES and
CAS islands.
These letters state that it is intended to start with the
vaccinating health personnel on the islands and all people living in it
are eligible for vaccination on Saba and St. Eustatius, as soon as RIVM issues the
has assessed implementation plans and storage locations as satisfactory. Also with
the deployment of covid-19 vaccinations for the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom
is the Health Council’s advice to start with the over-60s, the
starting point. The intention is therefore to start with the
vaccinating these groups.
From 14 to 30 January, the VWS vaccination campaigner for the
Caribbean parts of the Kingdom with a delegation from the RIVM, VWS and BZK
to all six islands to test the implementation plans, the storage and
Assess injection sites and provide training to medical personnel. The
Envoy will continue to progress with his team on all islands in the coming weeks
monitoring and supporting the islands in the final preparations with a view
on the premise to start vaccinating in the week of 15 February
the Caribbean.
1 TK 2021-2022, Parliamentary Paper 25295, no.851 and 874

Page 5 of 5
Together with the RIVM it is determined in what amounts each vaccine from
February 15 becomes available for the islands. Your Chamber will inform you about this in the
next progress letter covid-19 to be informed.
Support and recovery package for the Caribbean Netherlands
In the letter to your House of 21 January 20212 regarding economic expansion
support and recovery package also includes a passage on the Caribbean Netherlands.
It has been indicated that the starting point remains that for the Caribbean Netherlands one
a comparable approach is chosen as for the European Netherlands, account
taking into account the local situation. Due to its heavy reliance on it
tourism and increasingly stringent entry regulations are becoming public
bodies hit hard. On that basis, are for the Caribbean Netherlands
specific measures have been taken, with the same objective as the European
Dutch schemes. In concrete terms, this means that the temporary subsidy scheme
wage costs and loss of income, the subsidy scheme Allowance Fixed
Charges BES (TVL BES) and the deferral of tax payment also for the Caribbean
The Netherlands will be extended to the second quarter of 2021. The
translation of the broadening of these measures as well as others
measures in the package, such as financial compensation of public
bodies, is currently being further elaborated, in consultation with the
public bodies. Your House is expected to report on this in mid-February
informed.
Finally
The corona virus has had a major impact in recent months
public health and socio-economic situation on all six islands in it
Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The authorities on the six islands are seeking, in
cooperation with the Ministry of BZK, VWS and RIVM, the impact of
Covid as much as possible. This collaboration will also continue in the coming
months to be continued.
Yours sincerely,
the State Secretary for Health,
Welfare and Sport,
Paul Blokhuis
2 House of Representatives 2020-2021, reference 21019675

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