Travel advisories for Bonaire are updated by Lt. Governor Rijna.
Friday afternoon, Bonaire’s Lt. Governor Edison Rijna provided an update on the travel advisories for Bonaire, as well as on the COVID-19 situation.
Here is a transcript of his speech:
Today I am going to talk about the status of the application for code yellow, the new emergency regulation that came into effect on 28 October and the entry conditions. But first I will start with the state of affairs regarding the number of Covid-19 cases.
After having had days when no infections were detected, three cases were added this week. Today four people have recovered. We need to stay alert to prevent another outbreak. Doctor Marian Luinstra will discuss this later.
More travelers are now coming to our island from Curacao and the Netherlands. This increases the chance of contamination from outside. That is why measures remain necessary, so that the chance of further spread remains small. This can be done by avoiding contact with others as much as possible. It is, therefore, better to work from home as much as possible. Large public gatherings where people can infect each other are not yet allowed. Private gatherings are currently allowed for up to 10 people.
Gyms on the other hand are open again. There are strict rules that they must adhere to. I want to appeal to entrepreneurs who are allowed to open to strictly adhere to the rules. Pay attention to your closing times and the number of visitors. Wearing a face mask where a distance of a meter and a half cannot be guaranteed is strongly recommended. Currently, a closing time of 10 pm applies for the catering industry, including restaurants and casinos. If the numbers remain low, we can hopefully return to the situation where longer opening hours apply in two weeks.
To return to the entry conditions. It has now become easier to travel to Bonaire. Passengers from Curaçao, Canada and the Netherlands (i.e. Europe) are welcome. Anyone from all over the world can come to Bonaire through these three countries. The fact that it is currently only possible to fly from these three countries is in order to be able to regulate the number of people traveling in. For this we make agreements with the airlines. Passengers must show a negative PCR test upon entry. This test must be taken no more than 72 hours before departure from one of the three boarding points. Otherwise, these passengers will have to be quarantined for 14 days. An exception is only made for travelers who fly to Curacao from Bonaire and back for one day, without an overnight stay, for, among other things, business, a funeral, or a wedding. They must request an exemption for this at firstname.lastname@example.org. Travelers who travel to Bonaire from Curacao for 1 day must show a negative PCR test. NOTE: Travel remains a risky business. If you become infected abroad and test positive, the consequences are for your own account.
Finally, I want to talk about the Code Yellow application. A few weeks ago, Code Orange was requested to protect public health on Bonaire. The orange code discouraged people from coming to Bonaire. After the number of cases of Covid-19 has decreased drastically again, a request was made last Tuesday to go back to Code Yellow. So far we have not yet received an answer from The Hague. The reason that this advice is taking a long time to come is that the Netherlands wants to issue their travel advice for the entire kingdom in one go, and the coordination with the countries on this is taking longer than expected. We are in discussion with The Hague about this every day because we want an answer and clarity as soon as possible. After all, tourism is the main engine of our economy. Because it all takes longer than we thought, we are, among other things, looking with the tourism industry at other ways in which we can restart tourism, for example by looking at countries other than the Netherlands. I will inform you about this as soon as possible.
Finally. Together we succeeded in reducing the number of local infections quickly. Keep doing what you have been doing in recent weeks. Adhere to the hygiene instructions. Eat healthy, get enough sleep and keep moving to build up resistance. Protect yourself and the people around you.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Dr. Marian Luinstra-Passchier, Department of Public Health, also addressed the people of Bonaire.
Here is a transcript of her speech:
After a period of two and a half weeks without new infections, we had three cases this week. It concerns three people who came to Bonaire from the Netherlands. When the rules for coming to Bonaire were relaxed, we knew we would occasionally get people with COVID-19 on the island. For example people from the Netherlands or Curaçao, or other countries.
That’s okay, as long as we have the virus under control. And that’s exactly what happened this week. We took immediate action at the right time. The three people who were infected with the virus immediately went into isolation. They had contact with a few people, these people are now in quarantine. The chance that the virus has spread is very small.
COVID-19 will remain with us for a long time to come. The point is that we learn to live with the virus. That means we have to keep infections under control to live as safely as possible. That is why we limit the number of people who enter Bonaire. And we ask them to complete a health declaration and to do a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure. The result must be negative to enter. The airlines check this before departure.
When the passengers arrive on Bonaire, we check it again. This way we greatly reduce the chance that someone will come to Bonaire infected. That chance is not zero. We know we cannot 100% prevent COVID-19 from coming to our island. After arrival it may turn out that people are infected. And it could also be that something was overlooked somewhere during the check.
That is why it is very important that everyone adheres to the basic rules. And for our part, we do good research into the source of the virus and the people with whom the infected person had contact. People immediately go into isolation or quarantine if necessary. The test capacity on Bonaire is now greater with a new test device. As a result, we now get the test results faster. This is how we keep the virus under control.
We have shown together in recent months that we can do it. Now it is important that we keep doing this. We count on your cooperation. Do you know people who have come to Bonaire? Or do you have holiday guests? Explain to them what the measures on the island are. Tell them to call 0800-0800 if they get complaints related to COVID19. Do you know people in quarantine or isolation? Support them so that they get through this period well. Get them groceries or call them more often. Make sure you don’t get too close to them.
We can live as much as possible as we are used to, as long as we stick to the basic rules such as: Keep 1.5 meters apart, in case of complaints that could be related to COVID-19, go home immediately and call for a test appointment.
We count on you!