Statement Island Governor Edison Rijna
We all need to get used to the measures we have taken. For us, this means a press conference applying ‘social distancing’. We now have to rely on online technology. I will speak to you first, after which Acting Island Governor Curvin George will take over.
I would like to start by saying that we still have zero infections on Bonaire. There have been 7 tests, all 7 with negative result. There are currently 84 people in quarantine. Provided that I am glad there is still no infection, we assume the Coronavirus will arrive on Bonaire. We have to realize that the situation may change overnight, although we will do everything in our power to postpone that moment.
I am pleased that the majority adheres to the restrictive measures and that people generally remain calm. We receive a lot of signals about fake news. I hope that the group of people who help spread fake news realise that they are putting themselves and others at risk. Unnecessary hours are lost to verifying the fake news. Hours that could also have been used constructively to effectively stop the Coronavirus. In addition, we receive signals that certain groups are not being reached properly. In addition to communicating in four languages, we are working hard to develop more resources for low-literate people.
Furthermore, we see a demand for more communication about figures. I would like to assure everyone that we are in a different phase from our sister islands. They are already confronted with the Coronavirus and are therefore forced to provide more information to the population, in particular by tightening up the measures taken, in order to prevent a further spread of the virus.
Nevertheless, this does not change the fact that we also have to communicate a lot. We do our utmost to achieve this. Consult the official channels of the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland and the Public Entity. Information is spread by means of radio spots, infographics. Up-to-date information and frequently asked questions and answers about the Coronavirus can be found on the website rijksdienstcn.com in four languages. You can also contact the call center via number 0800-1351.
I would like elaborate on three messages. Firstly, the medical assistance we receive from Colombia and the Netherlands. I would like to explicitly emphasize that this is in preparation for a worst case scenario. Not because it is currently necessary, but preventively. Be aware, that we will inform you if there is a positive test. In the interest of the island, I will inform you immediately.
The acting Island Governor will explain to you later on how to increase the capacity of care, which may make it possible to choose a different direction with regard to the repatriation of residents. We have initially focused on April 7th, although the EBT will try to bring this forward. After all, there are no infections on Bonaire yet and there are still flights available, but only after obtaining advice from the RIVM. I hope to receive this information and discuss as soon as possible in the EBT (Island Policy Team). The advice of the Public Health plays an essential role. This because people returning to Bonaire have to be checked and quarantined. And nursed, if they would become ill.
Finally, I would like to inform you about an extension of the existing emergency ordinance. As of tomorrow there will be a total ban on gatherings and events in both public and private areas. This also means that it is temporarily not allowed to camp, for example on the beach. This has been decided in response to advice from the RIVM, as an additional preventive, protective measure against the Corona virus. On this matter, more will be communicated.
As I have told you before, the EBT meets daily. In the meantime we have worked out the strategy for the different phases, this will be explained in more detail by the Acting Island Governor. I would like to give the floor to Curvin George.
Click on this link to watch the press conference again.