Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in the Caribbean Netherlands extend ban of passenger flights through at least mid-April. Additional restrictions in place.

This alert affects Caribbean Netherlands

This alert began 09 Apr 2020 23:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustasius (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least mid-April
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Officials in the Caribbean Netherlands have extended a ban on passenger flights to the islands through at least mid-April as part of the territories' efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Additional movement and other restrictions have also been extended.

The following restrictions are in place:

  • Bonaire: The ban on passenger flights will remain in place until further notice. Authorities have also extended restrictions on gatherings of 50 or more people, as well as the closure of multiple businesses, including schools, sports, fitness clubs, and casinos, through at least April 30. Beaches are closed for groups of more than three people.
  • Saba: A ban on entry for nonresident foreign nationals continues until at least May 8. Residents traveling from Sint Maarten must self-quarantine for 14 days. Gatherings of 20 or more people are banned, and multiple businesses and locations, including schools, churches, and gyms, will remain closed until at least April 19. Restaurants may only operate for deliveries and pickup.
  • Sint Eustasius: Officials extended the ban on passenger flights, and stay-at-home orders requiring residents to remain inside their homes unless performing essential tasks, through at least April 14.


Each government could expand or extend its own preventative measures and movement restrictions locally over the coming days and weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice. Significant transport and business disruptions are likely through at least late April.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by authorities in the Caribbean Netherlands are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Netherlands Worldwide: https://www.netherlandsworldwide.nl

Caribbean Netherlands - COVID-19 Updates: https://english.rijksdienstcn.com/covid-19/news

Government of Sint Eustatius Updates: www.facebook.com/euxgov

Government of Saba Updates: www.sabagovernment.com