According to the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry of VSA) Collective Prevention Services (CPS), the steep rise in active cases is very worrisome, according to CPS, because this trend resembles the outbreaks seen/experienced on the other Dutch islands.
While the numbers have stayed stable for the past few months, CPS saw a rapid increase in persons coming forward for testing and a doubling in active COVID-19 infections. What is also worrisome is there are five persons in the hospital.
These indicators are almost identical to what CPS saw happening at the start of the massive outbreak that Curacao experienced at the beginning of April. This outbreak put the country into a hard lockdown, with 1000 new active cases and multiple people dying every day. This disastrous scenario was caused by the UK variant,
which is far more contagious and targets younger people. 100% of the active cases on Sint Maarten are of the UK (British) variant, which explains the steep increase in infections and the younger persons now being hospitalized.
The percentage of persons on Sint Maarten currently vaccinated is not higher than Curacao when their outbreak started. Considering the similarity in critical indicators, it is likely that the virus will spread similarly on Sint Maarten and cause similar problems.
Such a scenario would entail more persons in need of hospitalizations than we have beds available, persons passing away due to COVID-19, and consequently the reinstatement of the COVID-19 restrictions for citizens and local businesses, and if necessary, a curfew and lockdown.
The upside of this story is that we have the solution available. It is scientifically proven that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effectively protects you against the COVID-19 virus (UK variant). It is currently the very best vaccine on the market, and unlike various other countries, Sint Maarten has it available for free. Curacao has now managed to curb its outbreak by rapidly vaccinating its population. The effect of the vaccine can be clearly seen, with a steep decrease in active cases and transmissions and life returning to normal.
The VMT strongly encourages everyone who hasn't received their vaccination yet to get vaccinated as soon as possible. VMT adds we have the tools at hand to prevent a huge outbreak, as we saw in Curacao. If we continue to wait, we purposely endanger our island, economy, and loved ones.
The increase in vacation bookings for this summer is very hopeful and essential for many businesses to survive. A plausible next wave of infections will result in massive cancellations, which would cripple our already fragile economy, with the loss of many jobs as a consequence.
The Pfizer vaccine administered on Sint Maarten is safe and effectively protects you from the COVID-19 virus and variants. It is free and now available for everyone not yet vaccinated. The VMT urges everyone to understand the severity of the situation and not wait any longer.
You can go to the Belair Community Center and CPS office in Philipsburg on weekdays between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM or pass by during the extended opening hours at the Belair Community Center until 8:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Additionally, on Saturday, May 22nd, there will also be a POP-UP vaccination administering location at the Orange Grove Pharmacy in Cole Bay from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Use this opportunity to get vaccinated!
Come for your vaccine and encourage others to do so as well.
Only if Sint Maarten works together and uses the tools given to us can we prevent the scenario of Curacao from happening here as well.
Sint Maarten Protected Together.