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Bonaire’s COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

by | Jan 15, 2022 | Air Travel, COVID, Tourism Announcements

Lt. Governor of Bonaire, Edison Rijna

Bonaire’s COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high.

Yesterday, Lieutenant-Governor Edison RIjna and Dr. MIchael Mercuur gave speeches at a press conference. Bonaire’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise and have reached an all-time high of 900 active cases as of Friday, January 14th.


Below is a transcript of the latest speech from Lieutenant-Governor Edison Rijna.

From the beginning of the year, we have seen that the number of people who become infected with the Omicron variant continues to rise. This week we had two people who died from the virus. We sympathize with the families. Today we have 900 active cases and six people in the hospital.


It is time to tighten up the measures. Fortunately, we don’t have many people in the hospital yet because of COVID 19. But there are many people in quarantine or isolation, which puts pressure on healthcare. Omicron is known to spread rapidly. We want to avoid putting more pressure on healthcare, and that is why we want to reduce the number of contacts between people so that the virus spreads less quickly.


Therefore, from tomorrow January 15th to February 4th, the following measures will apply:


– It is forbidden to get together with a large group. There is a maximum of 10 people from a maximum of two households in the public space allowed.


– It is no longer allowed to organize events and issued permits are revoked.


– In the catering industry, a maximum of 4 people from 2 households are allowed to sit at the table. A maximum of 50% capacity of the restaurant may be used. The catering industry will close at 10 pm. This also applies to restaurants and bars in hotels.


– During the ceremony of weddings and funerals, 30 people are allowed to be present.


– It is advised that churches hold their services digitally or at no more than 50% capacity. The advice is not to sing during the service or mass.


– Sports are allowed outside, but without an audience. At indoor gyms, no more than 50% capacity may be used. There is no limit at outdoor gyms.


– Face masks must be worn and regularly ventilated in contact professions, such as hairdressers and physiotherapists.


– Casinos and cinemas must close at 10 pm and are allowed to use 50% of their capacity.


Everyone who goes into public places, shops, public transport, government buildings, and catering must wear a mask.


People regularly ask me to set a curfew. This is a far-reaching measure that restricts freedom. Fortunately, we are now not in a situation where a curfew is necessary.


I would appeal to employers not to employ people who should be in isolation or quarantine. The Labor Inspectorate and the Supervision and Enforcement Department supervise this.


I will now tell you about the new entry measures. From Sunday, January 16th,  we will consider all countries in the world as high-risk countries. Travelers no longer have to take a self-test on arrival, and the test also expires after five days. The quarantine for not fully vaccinated also expires. Travelers who are fully vaccinated can then re-enter with an antigen test 24 hours before departure or a PCR test 48 hours before departure. Those who have not been fully vaccinated must still take a PCR test 48 hours before departure.


Finally, I would like to say that we have not opted for a lockdown yet. However, if the numbers continue to rise, we may still have to do this.


That’s why I ask everyone not to let it get to that point. This is in our own hands. If you haven’t vaccinated or don’t have the booster yet, get it now!


Let’s limit the number of contacts we have, but let’s look after each other. Let’s continue to take care of each other in this time when many people are sick or have to stay at home. Let’s all take our responsibility and abide by the rules.

Below is a transcript of the latest speech by Dr. Michael Mercuur.

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is much more contagious than previous variants. Many people have contracted the virus during the past holidays. This week, about 150 people a day are told that they have the virus. Last week there were 100 people a day. So this week fifty more people per day compared to the previous week. Most people who are infected are between the ages of 19 and 34. That is almost half of the infections.


Many people have become infected during the holidays due to the many contacts. The vaccine also works less well over time. 70% of the infected persons had been fully vaccinated in the past two weeks. That’s why it’s important to get the booster shot. It ensures that your chance of becoming seriously ill is much less.


There are six people in hospital today due to Covid-19. 60% of the patients admitted to the hospital had not been vaccinated or not fully vaccinated in recent weeks.


People who contract the virus must immediately be placed in isolation. The people they had close contact with for more than 15 minutes should be quarantined immediately. The less contact there is with others, the less the virus can spread further.


Due to the isolation and quarantine, fewer and fewer people are able to go to work. We also have to deal with this at Public Health. As a result, we cannot conduct the source and contact investigation thoroughly. Nor can we call to indicate the end of isolation. It is not possible to quickly call everyone who has been tested. We can communicate more quickly via email if we have your email address. Information about isolation and quarantine has been posted on the website bonairecrisis.com.


The Public Health Department is concerned. Many people who have complaints that resemble the complaints of the coronavirus do not come to Public Health to be tested for COVID-19. We know this from the high number of positive tests of all tests.


Nowadays, it is possible to test yourself with a self-test. Do this for mild complaints. Even if you visit or receive visitors, it is recommended to test everyone. This ensures that you are not a danger to others and others to you. If such a self-test is positive, immediately go into isolation and quarantine your housemates. If the result of the self-test is positive, make a test appointment with Public Health by calling 0800-0800 to have yourself tested again. This is to see if the result there is also positive. If you then test positive, Public Health asks that you go into isolation at home for at least seven days.


Finally, I would like to ask everyone to get vaccinated and get the booster shot to protect yourself and Bonaire.

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Tanya Deen has been living in Bonaire since December 2016. She is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor and enjoys underwater and bird photography. Tanya is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.
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