** Travel entry requirements updated to allow rapid antigen tests **
The Ministers of TEATT Ludmila de Weever and VSA Richard Panneflek have updated the entry requirements to include antigen testing with effective date of November 25th. Travelers to St. Maarten are required to complete a mandatory health authorization application via the Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) available on www.stmaartenentry.comand upload their negative RT-PCR test within 5 days or their negative antigen test result within 48 hours. Currently, the following antigen tests have been approved: Abbott (CGIA Panbio COVID-19 Ag rapid test), Becton Dickinson (CGIA BD Veritor COVID-19 test) and Roche (SD Biosensor F test). The list of acceptable tests is constantly being reviewed as government continues to seek the most accurate alternatives to the PCR test.
“I’m happy with the addition of another test as this will assist in easing travel to St. Maarten since these specific antigen tests are readily available in our main tourist markets. In fact, one of our major airlines, Air France, is already using this test for travel between Paris and Guadeloupe, within the 48-hour window. Our island’s economy needs to return to pre-pandemic levels as safely and quickly as possible and this decision allows us to make the necessary adjustments to help improve load factors, thereby increasing the number of visitors and with it economic activity,” said Minister of TEATT Ludmila de Weever.
The Minister of Public Health, Richard Panneflek, stated, “I am diligently working at the possibility of using antigen tests for the local population. This will allow us to further synchronize the protocols that CPS and ARS have been working on. Due to the improved accuracy of antigen tests, the realization of mass testing will be possible for St. Maarten in the near future, allowing for a more realistic depiction of our COVID-19 situation. However, PCR test will remain St. Maarten’s gold standard testing method.”