St. Maarten prepares to welcome international passengers with rigorous screening steps at PJIA
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St. Maarten prepares to welcome international passengers with rigorous screening steps at PJIA

File photo  Seattles Travels File photo Seattles Travels

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As St. Maarten re-opens its borders to international travelers in the wake of the Corona Virus global pandemic, Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor (VSA), the honorable Richard Panneflek would like to remind all incoming traveller to Sint Maarten must to complete the online Health Authorization Form via www.stmaartenentry.com no later than 12-hours before arrival to St. Maarten.

As part of the online Health Authorization form, all passengers will be asked questions related to one’s state of health including questions in addition to travel information such as date of birth, passport numbers and intended length of stay.

In addition, one of the main entry requirements required, which form an integral part of the Health Authorization process, is the uploading of a negative PCR COVID-19 lab result, obtained from a nasal/oral swab specimen through PCR, NAAT or molecular testing performed by a certified lab.

It is important for travellers to note that the COVID-19 tests must be taken within 72 hours before departure, and the results need to be uploaded no later than 12 hours before departure to Sint Maarten.

Any other Covid-19 test (serological testing/antibody testing, antigen testing or any other blood test) doctor’s declaration or home kits will not be accepted. Any tests and results executed before 72 hours prior to departure to Sint Maarten will not be valid.

“The tests are not required for children ages 10 and under and all costs related to the PCR testing are the responsibility of the traveler,” said Minister Panneflek.

Upon successful completion of the online Health Authorization process, travelers will receive a confirmation email with approval for travel to Sint Maarten within 24hrs of completion. This would need to be shown in digital or print form at check-in and upon arrival.

Currently, there is no requirement for mandatory health insurance, but it is strongly advised and within the coming weeks St. Maarten will be adding this as a new entry requirement.

To safeguard the residents and visitors from any potential spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with PJIA have established a Health Pre-clearance checkpoint before the Immigration Department to conduct temperature screening, observational screening for persons exhibitng flu-like symptoms, verification of lab results of passengers, and testing upon arrival for persons who were flagged upon arrival for invalid documents, high temperature or other flu-like symptoms. Once flagged persons will be interviewed by the Airport Public Health Medical Staff and may be subjected to mandatory PCR testing.

Persons who must be tested at the Airport will be in quarantine while awaiting results from the Airport Medical Staff or CPS. If the RT-PCR result is negative, the traveler(s) is taken off quarantine/isolation measures. and are advised to self-monitor. If the RT-PCR result is positive, person(s) will be treated as a confirmed COVID-19 case and shall follow the national isolation protocols as advised by CPS.

It is widely known that many residents are still abroad hoping to be allowed to return home. “Exemption for residents returning on repatriation flights are approved by the Minister of Health and only residents can and must test upon arrival. This will be at your own expense if unable to receive test within 72 hrs. before departure to St. Maarten.”

While these adjustments are new to all, Minister Panneflek asks all arriving passengers to have patience and cooperate with the authorities. “I would like to thank the staff within the Ministry of VSA and our new Airport Health Checkpoint Team who have all taken the decision put country above self, for the greater good of us all to help protect our borders as we expect to receive between 400-700 passengers this coming Saturday.

Their dedication over the past weeks to receive the necessary training to execute their tasks not only shows our resillience but re-emphasized the need to re-open to ensure all can put food on their table. While the decision to re-open was never an easy one, the Government remains committed to protecting our nation and boosting our economic recovery.

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