Our National Testing Policy and the Shoe is on the Other Foot

Our National Testing Policy

On January 9th, I heard a rumor, and on January 12th, I saw a Reuters article that announced: US to require negative COVID-19 tests for international air passengers.

In the span of 16 days, by January 25th, Aruba had to get its act together and facilitate testing of healthy people, at the end of their glorious vacation – it is safe to assume they came in well, and leave in an even better shape.

Obviously, the Antigen test which is cheaper than the PCR, is sufficient!

There was a lot of drama behind the scene, but finally Aruba arrived at a good place, local labs provided the Ministry of Health with proof of their international, professional accreditations, and the ministry approved them as service providers, after a bit of resistance – alas, it wanted the hospital to be in charge.

Sure, a centralist is always reluctant to lose control.

The ministry envisioned our visitors paying USD $100 at the hospital for a PCR test, waiting in line, sitting in their cars with dozens other cars front and back, mostly local, some sick.

But luckily, private labs fought back.

MedCare/Laboratorio di Servicio and NoordLab, have BETTER accreditations than the hospital, and they charge around USD $50 for an antigen test.

Since visitors measure their vacations by the hours spent on the beach, the private labs deliver much better service, that’s cheaper too.

Aruba now offers more options, just walk in.

Several hotels also offer testing services on their premises, and the list of options keeps growing.

Check out complete info:  

https://www.aruba.com/us/traveler-health-requirement, for the latest update

Insiders report the situation is Aruba is very good in comparison to other island where 50% of travelers were denied boarding due to non-compliance with the testing regulation of the US government.

All test locations on Aruba report plenty of capacity with qualified doctor assistants performing the procedure and smoothly facilitating it for visitors, at about USD $50 for the Antigen test, also in the comfort of their hotel; and they are welcome to show up in their swim trunks and bikinis.

Now that’s a good deal.

 

The shoe is on the other foot.

My column from Tuesday, about the public-sector Labor Unions and their demand to be paid in full, while private sector businesses sustains 50% plus, plus, revenue losses, elicited a few responses.

While it does indicate a certain degree of selfishness and a total lack of understanding that Aruba is truly broke, Labor Unions have a point, says an informed attorney friend.   

In 2020, GOA asked the Labor Unions to help support FASE. A wage subsidy program for the unemployed.

It was GOA’s idea, and thus it is GOA’s responsibility, don’t come now to the Labor Unions and demand their support. That buck should stop at GOA’s feet.

Also, GOA showed zero austerity in the way it conducts its business, there have been zero changes in the patterns of national spending, no reform, no collective tightening of the belt, and thus the Labor Unions see GOA hasn’t budged, and they are not inclined to give.

If only GOA led by example!

Ten and a half months into the pandemic, and nothing changed.

Why should GOA make changes?  No one is holding it accountable, I don’t see commerce protesting, writing, talking, fussing. Our lobotomized business community sits quietly, and says nothing, as GOA sits quietly and does nothing, biding its time, until elections.

With the exception of columnist Armand Hessels, who writes tirelessly determined to start a revolution.

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January 28, 2021
Rona Coster