President Chandrikapersad Santokhi says Suriname will allow direct passenger traffic from the Netherlands while announcing also the resumption of domestic flights in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, as it recorded lower levels of coronavirus (COVID-19) positive cases.
In a national broadcast on Sunday night, President Santokhi also announced a two-week extension of the curfew, but that it will now start one hour later at 9.00 pm to 5.00 am (local time) due to the restart of schools across the country.
The head of state said that with regards to the international flights, passengers must submit a negative COVID-19 test and are required to be quarantined for 10 days after arrival. Flights to the interior will be carried out in accordance with the protocols and after screening of Zorg en Hoop Airport.
Santokhi told the nation that the number of infections has dropped significantly, adding “the occupancy rate in hospitals and intensive care is also showing a strong decline”.
While he praised the society for its “nationalist stance” that ensures “ever-better times”, Santokhi, however, warned “we are a long way off.
“The figures tell us that we are far from having the desired circumstances. The danger of a new wave, a new peak is real,” Santokhi said, citing Europe as an example, where various countries, including the Netherlands, are currently experiencing an increase in COVID-19 infections.
Santokhi warned that while the authorities will move to close down companies that breach the protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
“There will be no hesitation in closing if there is reason to do so,” Santokhi said in his broadcast, adding “public transport and education will be continuously monitored.
“These are situations where many people come together. The chance of a possible spread of the virus will remain low, if the protocols and preventive measures are properly observed.”
President Santokhi said he is hoping that virus will soon become something of a past here.
“So there is a need to pay extra attention to ourselves and each other. We are going to do it together, for all of us, for our children, for our beloved country Suriname. Together,” he said.
According to the new measures outlined by the President, the ban on gathering is valid for groups larger than 10 people and there will be no exemptions for parties, including house parties.
In addition, meetings for mourning, funerals and religious gatherings are permitted only if and insofar as no more than fifty people are present at the same time, while outdoor sports activities may take place normally; but contact sports are not allowed.
Brothels, bars, night clubs, dance halls, discotheques and the like will remain closed and restaurants and other commercial eateries may only open for take-out or delivery, provided they have outdoor terraces.
Meanwhile, figures released by health officials here on Sunday night, show that the number of active COVID-19 cases has dropped to 72, making it the lowest since the first week of June.
In the past 24 hours, only four new infections were added including three in the capital, Paramaribo.
There are now 4,835 positive cases while the death toll remained stationary at 102.