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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (2295)


SINT MAARTEN/TRINIDAD - Caribbean Airlines has implemented the use of thermal scanners at its Piarco Head office in Trinidad, as part of precautionary measures to limit and control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The thermal scanners have been introduced on a trial basis and the airline will continue to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of this measure. During the trial period, all employees and visitors to the airline’s Piarco compound will be screened to assess whether their body temperature is at an acceptable level as prescribed by the Chief Medical Officer of Trinidad and Tobago (CMO).

Similar measures are being reviewed for offices throughout the airline’s network. Caribbean Airlines’ CEO Garvin Medera, in commenting on the initiative said: “The implementation of thermal scanners at our Head office, in Piarco, Trinidad is just one of several precautionary measures that Caribbean Airlines has implemented in the fight against Covid-19.

We are encouraging all employees and visitors to our Piarco compound to kindly cooperate with us as we work to limit the spread of Covid-19. Similar initiatives are being put in place at offices throughout the Caribbean Airlines network.”

Mr. Medera added: “The safety and wellbeing of our employees and customers is paramount and we remain vigilant and ready to do all that is necessary to protect and safeguard all our valued stakeholders.”


Prime Minister Jacobs issues National 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Message

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – On the eve of the start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) issued her national message to the nation.

“My Fellow Sint Maarteners,

Another hurricane season is before us. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season traditionally begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th. We are faced with this challenge every year.

“Our country sits in a disaster-prone hurricane risk area. Therefore, we must prepare and be ready! This is a call to action and the time is now to put things into motion.

“Forecasters have stated that we can expect a busy hurricane season. This season is already off to an early start with the formation of the first two named storms forming, namely Arthur and Bertha off the U.S. east coast within the past two weeks.

“This shows the unpredictability of these powerful weather systems, and it further demonstrates that we must be ready at all times throughout the hurricane season.

“This season commences as we continue to go through the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the measures that we have taken as a Government back in March, our country’s COVID-19 situation has been brought under control prior to the start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

“With our phased de-escalation process currently underway, residents are able to prepare for the hurricane season by visiting the hardware stores and other entities such as insurance companies etc., making sure that you prepare early and have things in place before the peak months of the season.

“The time to prepare is now! You are preparing under a new reality, and a new normal. COVID-19 has changed the way we do things and the way we interact with each other. A prepared community means a resilient nation, ensuring a quick recovery in the event we are impacted by mother nature.

“The Government’s Disaster Management Organization has been preparing since early May. All emergency support functions have been preparing their plans for this season in order to safeguard the nation. Hurricane preparation is not only a prerogative of Government, but an individual, family and business responsibility.

“Individually and collectively, we strengthen our preparedness against any disaster or crisis, and COVID-19 is testament to this. As a people you adhered to our advice coming from our health care professionals and other relevant emergency support functions during the past four months who are part of our country’s disaster management system.

“When making your preparations for the hurricane season, you must also keep in mind COVID-19 and the hygiene measures that you must follow daily to protect yourself and your family.

“When preparing your Disaster Kit and “grab-bag,” you have to make sure to include hand sanitizer, soap bar or liquid soap; two cloth face coverings for each person; disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces. These are all COVID-19 requirements besides the other necessities such as water, batteries, flashlight, radio, medicine, non-perishable foods etc.

“Do not become complacent this hurricane season. Follow the preparedness messages and advice coming from our emergency support functions. Careful preparation will make a huge difference and remain vigilant throughout the season. Stay informed and follow official government information channels for instructions.

“Remember, it only takes one to make it a bad hurricane season. I appeal to everyone including the business community, to make sure you are ready for the season.

“Start preparing from now, and remember, we are a resilient people and a resilient nation, and because of our collective preparation, this will allow us to overcome as we have done in the past, because of a collective resiliency based on how well we are prepared.

“Prepare well and be prepared! May we have a safe 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

Thank you, and May God Bless our Sint Maarten Land.”

Hurricane Season Related Information

The community is urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and how to prepare for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the Government website: where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and “Hurricane Tracking Chart.”

In addition, you can also download the ‘Disasterprep Sint Maarten’ app for Android and Apple phones by going to the Google and Apple stores.

The remaining storm names for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season are: Christobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, René, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information and news before, during and after a hurricane.

For official weather-related information, check out the website of the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS):


Country on its way to being COVID-19 Free. Only two active cases, 60 Recovered and no new cases for almost three weeks

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs, in the final update for today, Saturday, May 30, 2020, as part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and the Government’s COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, St. Maarten, as well as much of the world, was faced with the development that was unforeseen in its magnitude, size and impact. One that we could not have ever imagined.

“On March 23, 2020, the government began closing its borders to minimize the impact and effects of the COVID-19 virus which was known to be an imported virus. However, at the end of the day, we were able to contain and crush the COVID-19 virus in a relatively short period of time of two months.

COVID-19 Cases Update

“Based on the latest available data provided by Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Epidemiologist Dr. Raissa Tjon-Kon-Fat, for yesterday, May 29, 2020, as of 5:00 PM, there are now 60 individuals in self-quarantine, and 8 individuals in self-isolation. To date, 461 persons have been tested, of which 77 were positive, 380 were negative, and three tests are still pending.

“Of the 77 positive cases, 60 have recovered. Notably, St. Maarten has had only one positive case in the last 33 days, and no new cases in the last 20 days which is almost three weeks. Presently, there are two active cases on St. Maarten.

“As of May 29th, 2020, there are no COVID-19 suspected or confirmed patients admitted to SMMC, including the Pavillion MMP and the ICU Tent. St. Maarten currently has about 900 samples of antibodies’ tests (PCR tests), and we look forward as soon as the labs have been certified this process that this will also continue and more information about this will be provided by Ministry VSA.

“In the coming days, St. Maarten is expected to be free of COVID-19. To arrive at this point, it was imperative that we were forced to take stringent and decisive measures of closing down our economy. Flights, cruise ships, vessels, etc. were no longer allowed to enter St. Maarten, for visitors nor for residents. In addition, to prevent and minimize the problem, we also had to go towards a complete lockdown of our domestic economy by not allowing businesses to be open, besides the essential services. We are slowly allowing residents and visitors to re-enter under very strict conditions.

“These measures, although not popular, were necessary in order to “bend or flatten the curve!” However, these measures proved to be successful at the end of the day. Naturally, one of the major consequences of COVID-19, throughout the world, is that our interdependence and reliance upon each other have shown how vulnerable, reliant, and dependent we are upon each other as a small economic society.

“The combination of taking Public Health Measures to protect our country and the economic impact of closing our economy, internationally and domestically, has resulted in a win for the health side of our country, but a lost for the economic side of the equation. This is and has been true for all countries going thru this dilemma currently on a worldwide bases and some are still going thru it.”

The Prime Minister reiterated in her national address for the populace to maintain a high level of hygiene in order to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Prime Minister Jacobs in her address further stated: “We will continue as a Council of Minister on these topics and hope that people moving around on St. Maarten will continue to use their good judgement in order to remain safe.

“Continue keeping yourself safe against COVID-19 by:

  • Practicing proper mask usage
  • Remaining socially distanced when in public: keeping 2 meters or 6 feet away from other persons
  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Covering your cough in a proper manner
  • Sneezing in a napkin and disposing of it
  • Limiting physical contact (handshaking, hugging, kissing)

“I believe that we have learned some key messages from this experience and naturally it has revealed some secrets to success for any future developments.

“God forbid! We have learnt that going forward we ALL, as a community, must plan and prepare for the future, and we know now we are facing the start of the hurricane season. So, preparations will be key to our survival. It is imperative that the measures and the guidelines that have been put into place for your safety continue to be followed.

“The measures of Social Distancing, Wearing of Masks (esp. when Social Distancing is not possible) and the frequent handwashing and/or sanitizing. These measures are what have brought our COVID-19 situation under control and it is the continuation of these practices and even if someone returns and is infected will keep it from spreading to others. We really would like to see that we can reopen out economy and still maintain a COVID-19 free St. Maarten.

“Government is therefore encouraging our Private Sector to take the initiative and lead to look for ways to produce locally and/or export the goods made in St. Maarten or export services. This will definitely and is urgently needed to sustain, protect and safeguard our economy and livelihood.

“As I have said in many speeches before, we must find ways to follow our dreams and find ways to create security and safety nets so never again would we find ourselves in this position. People of St. Maarten, there are more challenges ahead of us. However, the one thing that remains is that we are strong, and we are a resilient people, and as a fact we define resiliency and like always we will rise again. Let us continue this great work that we have done over the past three months and continue to stay COVID-19 free.

“I would like to remind you about this vision that I have for St. Maarten that we move from where we are to being a multi-pillar economy, allowing for each and every one of us affording maximum growth where opportunities exist that empower each and every citizen of St. Maarten with your determination and strength of mind and your actions that would allow you to progress to the next level. There is no limit to the progress that we can realize if we only work together.

“St. Maarten is a place where dreams can be achieved.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 11 Emergency Support Functions (ESF) Coordinators, their support teams, Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson, the EOC Back Office, as well as His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday, our Public Prosecutor M. Mol, and the Dutch Military for their unwavering commitment in shaping the decisions that enabled St. Maarten to collectively contain the spread of COVID-19.

“I’d also like to thank my support staff for their tireless efforts in ensuring that I was equipped to take all the necessary decisions and communicate it to the public. Be Blessed St. Maarten!”


EOC Deactivated on Friday after COVID-19 Virus has been Contained

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said on Saturday that in a full Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting held yesterday, Friday, May 29, together with some members of the Council of Ministers and key Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) coordinators, it was decided to de-activate the EOC as de-escalation has come full force and the country has not had to back track at any time thus far and phase 3 has now started today-Saturday.

Additionally, the EOC and Council of Ministers agree that the spread of the COVID-19 virus has now been contained and neutralized. “As we transition into our “new normal,” the responsibility of each Ministry now lies in the hands of the respective Ministers to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of a second wave of the COVID-19 virus.

“The Council of Ministers have been diligently preparing for the recovery stage for some time now and will continue to build upon the exceptional work of the EOC and their support teams who as they of course form part of the mistrial teams as well. We have to move from our disaster mode to recovery mode.

“As mentioned previously, COVID-19 has impacted in particular, tourism-based economies the most and throughout the world, St. Maarten being no exception to this rule. Tourism economies are still very much dependent on the health situation of other countries COVID-19 to be under control before we can feel comfortable opening our borders to the world and travelling Public. A multi-disciplinary group from the EOC will also continue to remain available to the Council of Ministers should they require additional advice,” the Prime Minister said on Saturday in her national address.


Traffic diversion in Dutch Quarter with road closures as of June 1

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), Department of New Projects on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten is hereby informing the residents of Dutch Quarter and the General Public of St. Maarten, that the Dutch Quarter Sewerage Project will once again reconvene with the implementation of the sewerage network in the main road.

The works will resume from the intersection of Zorg and Rust Up until Milton Drive. These works entail excavation and placement of sewer lines in the Illidge Road.

The road closure will commence from Monday June 1st, 2020 to Friday August 7th, 2020. To permit the flow of traffic on the first day, the road will be closed from 9:00 am. Please note that this road closure will be a permanent closure for the duration of the two-month period.

This road closure also concerns the surrounding areas Belvedere, Defiance and Madame Estate with an addition to the traffic circulation. No through traffic will be allowed from the intersection of Zorg and Rust and Milton Drive.

The project is in the final stage and is nearing completion. All businesses along the main road will remain open and accessible to the public. Proper street lighting will also be put in effect to ensure safety of the community.

The Road Closure is as follows:

- The road will be closed from Monday June 1st, 2020 to August 7th, 2020.

- Traffic will be allowed to enter from the Bishop Hill Roundabout to Dutch Quarter up until the road closure.

- The diversion routes from French St. Martin to Philipsburg will be via Bishop Hill road.

- The diversion routes from French St. Martin to Cole Bay/ Simpson Bay (Airport) will be via the Middle Region Road.

- Traffic using the A.T. Illidge Road to enter Dutch Quarter may do so until Milton Drive.

- Traffic using the A.T. Illidge Road to Oyster Pond and French St. Martin will be diverted via the Middle Region Road.

- The bus stop at the roundabout will be identified with signs indicating the new stop location for passenger busses.

Working together for a better St. Maarten

In full cooperation with the Traffic Department, Ministry VROMI is asking all motorists to please respect the traffic diversion and the notice placed for the detour for a smooth transition while the works are being carried out.

This is to ensure safety to all during the period of civil works. The works are scheduled to be carried out during the daytime. The project consists of the sewerage infrastructure for the Dutch Quarter district.

The works are part of the 10th EDF programme related to the upgrading of the infrastructure of socially deprived neighbourhoods.

The Ministry of VROMI Department of New Projects on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten would like to thank everyone for their patience during the execution of works.

The information will be updated when necessary with respect to any changes via the Ministry of VROMI Facebook Page, the Project Facebook Page, and the Community of Dutch Quarter Facebook Page.

Motorists are requested to be vigilant and observant for the traffic directional signs.

Notice to the public and all motorists, tampering and/or removing barricades or any of government properties is punishable by law.  

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.


Inspectorate TEATT Reminding Public Transport Sector about COVID-19 Plans

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), is issuing a reminder to all taxis and bus permit holders that according to the Regulation of the Prime Minister of May 16, 2020, to determine Phase II that “Business and Services allowed to resume operations must adhere to the guidelines outlined in addendum 2, entitled ‘COVID-19 Prevention and Safety Plan for the Business Community of Sint Maarten,’ and must have their operational plans in place prior to opening to the public. Failure to do so, will result in closure of the business.”

With respect to the provision of passenger transport services, you must implement and abide by the guidelines found in section 4.1, 4.2 or 4.3 of the aforementioned Prevention and Safety Plan (whichever section is applicable to your category of business).

4.1 Specific Guidelines for Buses – Public Transport

  1. Stick a multilingual laminated notice outside of the bus at the entrance explaining the rules to all passengers who want to make use of the service
  2. Determine and only allow the maximum number of persons per bus type for boarding at 50% of the seating capacity of the vehicle
  3. Passengers should be seated at the window seats
  4. Only pick up and drop passengers at designated bus stops (bushaltes)
  5. Ensure that the driver and passengers comply with the rules
  6. Do not allow passengers to sit on the seat next to the driver
  7. Mark the seats that can be used and those seats that cannot be used
  8. Ensure each passenger properly wears a facemask as a strict condition for boarding
  9. The driver properly wears a facemask during services
  10. Get passengers to put only the exact amount for the trip in a box or in a bag on the chair closest to the driver (no change can be provided)

4.2 Specific Guidelines for School buses

  1. The same as for public transport buses, with the exception of point 10
  2. Maximum of 50% of seating capacity, contingent on meeting 2 meter social distancing.
  3. Ensure orderly boarding and leaving of the school bus.

4.3 Specific Guidelines for Taxis

  1. Allow a maximum of 2 passengers of the same family in sedan types of taxi
  2. Sharing a ride in a taxi with other persons is not allowed
  3. Passenger(s) to take the back seat of the sedan type of taxi
  4. Driver and passenger(s) are to properly wear a facemask
  5. Request passengers to pay the exact amount for the trip (no change can be provided) and to put the money on the seat next to the driver to avoid physical contact
  6. For bus types of taxis, refer to the guidelines for Buses – Public Transport (with the exception of point 4)

Your failure to abide by these guidelines can result in sanctions. A template of the Prevention and Safety Plan can be found on page 17 of the aforementioned document.

The Prevention and Safety Plan is on the government’s website at, under the section National Laws & Gazette.

Click on the year 2020 and scroll down and click the link, “Bijlage 2 Final Guidelines to prepare COVID19 Prevention and Safety Plan for Businesses - 16 May 2020.pdf” to download the file.

The providers of tours are also reminded that with Phase III commencing per June 1, 2020 the requirement for a prevention and safety plan is also applicable to them in order to resume operations. If you have questions or concerns, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


TelEm Group main building closed for two days for deep clean

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The TelEm Group main building on Pond Island will be closed for two days (Thursday, May 28, and Friday May 29, 2020) to allow for a professional fumigation of offices and all public areas.

The closure is out of an “abundance of caution” in the event an employee in the building may have come into contact with a suspected Coronavirus patient.

In a Communique to employees, Wednesday, CEO, Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, said the professional cleaning is only being taken as a precautionary measure in keeping with the company’s safety protocols.

Employees will be working remotely from home during the two-day closure and regular business hours will resume, Monday June 1, 2020.

TelEm Group’s Simpson Bay Branch will remain open while the main building is closed. The company apologizes for any inconvenience caused.


Public Health MoU to be Signed Soon. Border to Reopen June 2nd

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – The Prefecture of Saint-Barths and Saint-Martin stated on Monday that the next phase of de-escalation begins on June 2nd if there are no dramatic changes between now and then with respect to the public health situation on the island.

Fifth and sixth graders returned to classes on Monday which was another phase of the returning to the new normal. This also included the re-opening of beaches and allowing boating activities within the past week.

If the public health situation remains without any changes, the next phase of re-opening takes place on June 2nd when sailing and other nautical activities can take place, but also no more border controls - free movement across the border between north and south.

The aforementioned is dependent on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Public Health that is to be signed between the authorities of Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten in the next few days.

The MoU is being finalized by the relevant government agencies between the two Governments.

A meeting took place on May 22nd between the Regional Health Agency of the French side and the Dutch side Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.

The MoU establishes a common doctrine between both sides of the island, guaranteeing monitoring and control of the public health situation. A follow-up meeting is planned for Tuesday, May 26th, to discuss testing strategies, and contact tracing among other issues.


CPS gives Safety Preventive Measures to 225 Construction Workers

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The construction sector is one area that could restart works in the week of May 11 phase 1 based on the four-phased de-escalation Economic Re-opening Plan. This was enacted as local COVID-19 transmission numbers came down.

Every workplace must have a system of Safe Management measures, to prevent the re-emergence of community cases.

On May 16, nurses from the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, namely, Nadine Richardson, Shardina Blomont-Frederick, and Alicia Torres and Valone Adams (volunteers), carried out their fifth COVID-19 safety preventive measures information session at the Bouygues Construction site at Pelican Key.

The health and safety of the nation remains a top priority for CPS.

The topics discussed was: what is COVID-19; the origin of COVID-19; signs and symptoms of COVID-19; the differences between isolation and quarantine; what you should do if you suspect you have COVID-19; why it is important to maintain the two meter social distancing; how to prevent contracting COVID-19 by avoiding touching M.E.N. (M=Mouth, E=Eye, N=Nose); proper usage and disposal of masks (surgical, cloth, N95); and the proper way to wash and sanitize your hands.

During the information sessions, information was also provided about why it is important to clean surfaces, door handles and telephones; and about the importance of removing jewelry and watches before washing your hands.

Pierre, Safety Manager at the construction site in Pelican Key, said that he ensures that all measures are taken to protect the workers and other persons that are at the work site, and that these measures are also maintained at their living quarters.

CPS urges businesses to implement safe management practices that will support the safe and gradual resumption of normal economic activities based on the de-escalation plan of the Government of Sint Maarten.

The aforementioned adherence and compliance to safety measures at the workplace supports businesses and creates a safe work environment for employees and customers with the aim to stop the spread of COVID-19 and any infectious disease.

We all must uphold good health and hygiene practices during this COVID-19 crisis.

MinVSA Construction COVID19 Presentation Preventive Measures

Construction workers in a classroom setting being informed by CPS officials about how to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.



Minister Samuel Back to School Advice

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Minister of Education drs. Rodolphe Samuel issued a public statement with words of advice and encouragement for parents and children who will be going back to school on Monday, May 25th, 2020. The minister encourages the parents to make sure their children have all the necessary protective gear at hand so that the children will be able to abide by all safety and health protocols.

In his statement, Minister Samuel asks for the cooperation of the parents and the students as they "will be part of something new." The minister explained, that many of the students who are in their final academic year will be going to school to sit exams while the students of the other classes will remain at home and continue with their education online. "The school can make use of the extra empty classrooms to accommodate the exam students." the minister said.

"In this way," the minister explains, "teachers can apply social distancing and keep the students safe while they do their test. The task of all of us on Sint Maarten, is to be attentive during these weeks, as we go about daily business."

According to Minister Samuel, school buses will be on the road again. "The traffic in the area of our secondary schools will be heavier than usual, as parents will also be taking their children to school and picking them up," the minister explained. "Buses might take a little longer to load and offload students. With fewer children per bus, you might have more buses on the road. It is important that bus operators, parents, and students apply the health protocol laid down by our professionals. New rules will be in place for the buses."

"Keeping everyone safe, is the most important task for us all." Minister Samuel said. "Everyone is expected to contribute to keeping Sint Maarten healthy. We have to think about ourselves and also on others too. If the students making use of the bus follow the rules, then the bus operators will have less work to do."

"If your child is taking the bus." the minister advises, "make sure you have the telephone number of the bus operator, the bus number, the route of the bus, and the time the bus will pass in your area."

The minister encourages parents to provide their child or children with a bottle of water and a little bottle of hand sanitizer before going to school. "This is to ensure that they all have their own, which will also save time," Samuel said." They should always have it at hand and not wait until they are asked and then have to start looking for it."

The Minister of Education encourages everyone to be cooperative. "Let us help each other to stay safe. Each student should have a little pack of tissue, don’t always wait until the school has it available. When your child return home, remember to apply the same precautions, let the child change its clothes, and take a bath before going through the house," the minister advises.

"As a student it is important to be vigilant at all times and pay attention to what is happening around you. It is important to keep your distance when you are with your friends. Think of yourself and your family at home. Think in advance about your self-protective equipment. Make sure to have a facemask when going to school, and a shield if possible. You are allowed to wear your protective gear in school. Always encourage your friends to wear protective gear as well. When at home, make sure to put your protective equipment where you where you will easily locate it," the minister said. "When receiving personal protective equipment for the first time, make sure to try them on, take a picture in it and see what it looks like. Get used to it at home so that you would be comfortable wearing it."

The Minister of Education urges the parents to be on time, when bringing their children to school and picking them up. Don’t give them the opportunity to hang around for a long time waiting for you. Take a picture of your child’s schedule and keep it in your phone.

Minister Samuel concluded his statement with the following message: "I want to take this opportunity to wish the students much success with their exams. To the parents, teachers, and bus drivers, I also wish them much strength, courage and I urge them to be safe at all times."

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