SABA—Due to the fast spreading of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Saba is taking stricter measures, starting Saturday, December 25 until the end of January 2022.
As of Saturday, all persons coming to Saba will be required to take a PCR-test before being allowed to enter the island. “So no matter where you travel from, low/high or very high risk, a PCR test is mandatory. Residents of Saba who leave the island for two nights or less will not need to take a PCR-test to re-enter the island but will have to follow stricter measures just as anyone else who visits Saba,” stated Island Governor Jonathan Johnson in an audio message on Wednesday, December 22.
Upon entering Saba, everyone will have to follow the following stricter measures, which include testing on day 2 and 5. Arrival on Saba is considered day 0. The following day is day 1. Persons who have arrived on the island have to wear a face mask when venturing in public places, in taxis and in supermarkets.
Persons who are not vaccinated from all countries or neighboring islands will be required to quarantine for 5 days. Regular measures of hand hygiene, coughing in the elbow and contacting Saba Cares when feeling sick remain in place.
Saba authorities have decided to scale up the United States to a very high-risk country per Wednesday, December 22, 2021. This means that only PCR-tests will be accepted, taken a maximum of 72 hours before arrival on the island. This includes day-trippers. All travelers will require an approved EHAS form filled out 24 hours before arrival.
“Omicron will come but we need to ensure that our population has the opportunity to receive the booster shot,” said Johnson. The booster campaign started with those over 60 years and will continue next week with those persons who work in the healthcare sector.
Johnson said that Saba has been very fortunate, but he noted that the reality with the new Omicron variant is that this virus spreads much quicker. “We will continue to be vigilant as a government, but as a community we also need to be vigilant and aware of taking our own safety measures. If you are feeling unwell, please call the hospital. Self-tests are available at the pharmacy for free.”
Johnson encouraged all persons who are willing and able to get a booster shot. “It has been proven to be effective. At the same time I would like to stress that no vaccine is 100% effective. However, it does minimize the risk of getting severely ill.”