No ebola travel ban in place on French St. MartinPOSTED: 11/3/14 7:56 PM
St. Maarten –No ebola travel plan has been put in place on French St. Martin, although officials there have said they have three levels when dealing with a suspected case of ebola. Dutch St. Maarten issued an ebola travel ban on October 27.
Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a delegation from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), met with French side officials in Hope Estate last week to discuss preparations related to the ebola virus disease (EVD) and inform them of the St. Maarten Ebola Preparedness Plan and the island’s travel ban, which was officially announced by Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever on October 27. French side health officials informed CPS that the French ebola national preparedness plan has three levels, when dealing with a suspected case of EVD; however, to date, there was no travel ban in effect for the French territories.
Having discussed various scenarios, levels and a possible collaboration, health officials decided that there is a need for an additional meeting, where all counterparts can meet to discuss the associated logistics. It was also decided that both sides of the island will work together to ensure an effective response and seek the intervention of their respective supervisors and political leaders to ensure the effectiveness of the travel ban in protecting the borders of St. Maarten/St. Martin.
Minister de Weever encouraged both French and Dutch side health officials to meet at the technical level before political dialogue begins. “We did it for the Chickungunya virus, where we worked together. I am a strong believer that South (Dutch) and North (French) must work together and share our human and financial resources to combat any health issues that will pose a threat to our island,” Minister de Weever said on Sunday. This collective action has the sole aim of preventing and/or minimizing the risks of exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of ebola.
The health officials are well aware of the challenges of one side of the island having a travel ban and the other side not having one in place. A follow-up meeting is planned to further discuss the details of the ebola Preparedness and Response plans from both sides of the island. Additional stakeholders will be invited to be present for this follow-up meeting. Ministry VSA monitors, on a daily basis, the on-going developments in West Africa with respect to the EVD outbreak, which has infected 13,703 persons. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of October 27, 4,922 people have died from the disease.