Code Orange High

Having disregarded many Code Orange recommendations over the holiday weekend, starting tomorrow, restrictions get a bit tighter, and if we don’t comply, the island will revert to even more severe measures.

Overall, it was an interesting press conference this morning. While MinPres was motherly and mellow, carefully explaining how the crisis-team weighs the consequences of increased measures, the Chief of Police was not amused, she was stern and forceful, making clear disrespect will not be tolerated, and that strong responses and fines will be in place to make sure the community complies without excessive argument, starting tomorrow.

Towards the end of the conference MinPres reiterated, and she is right, we cannot police everyone and everything, we cannot turn our crime-fighters into a virus-control force, it is physically impossible and financially unsound – we have no money, we have to use resources carefully, and the public had better grow up.

Again the officials stated that it is up to us, as individuals, to comply with the simple rules that make a difference:  Keeping distances, wearing facemasks, washing hands frequently and properly, and as soon as symptom appear, isolate, and call the doctor.

According to MinPres and DVG, too many people wait too long to get tested, after first symptoms occur, then they walk around for days spreading their germs, and when screened for contacts, fib about the ones they were in touch with.

In view of the fact that the average number of new positive cases per day is 50, and we already have 33 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, 11 among them in the ICU, as we learn that a number of more contagious variants and mutations, have been identified here, new measures will be introduced on Saturday, March 20th.

Restaurants: Maximum 2 adults per table, down from the previous four; social events/house visits are banned; there is also a gathering ban in public areas, maximum 2 people allowed on beaches, and only until 7pm – then again after 5am. Any other public location, including parking lots, two people is the maximum, where we previously permitted four.

The general curfew from 12midnight to 5am remains in place, as well as a general ban on all form of gathering, on land, in the water, and in the air is on. The public was asked to refrain from soliciting permits, any permits, refrain from dancing, and forget about live orchestras. The maximum number of musicians allowed in ONE.

MinTvs gave some welcomed vaccine updates, announcing that all residents 18+ are welcome to now register on the health app.

In addition to 60+ and healthcare workers, the vulnerable group suffering from a published list of medical condition, ages 18-60, will now become a priority for vaccination.

MinTvs also reported that 31,969 residents registered to date, 13,917 are 60+; while 11,775 residents have received the first vaccine, 9,891 of them 60+.

On March 23rd Aruba will receive 17,550 Pfizer doses from The Netherlands, that is 5,000 more than previously expected, and the same amount again between April 6th and 13th. The island is capable of inoculating up to 1,600 locals per day.

If Aruba keeps the pace of vaccination up, the Netherlands will ship larger batches of vaccines, depending on our distribution rate, and speed.

Overall, Aruba has been efficient in its vaccine administration, nevertheless, the general public is encouraged to register at its earliest convenience, on the health app and/or personally at the four multi-purpose community centers

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March 19, 2021
Rona Coster