Welcome to the crisis website of the Public Entity Bonaire. This website is online when there is a crisis. That is why you can now find all information about COVID-19 on this website.

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Q&A’s medical

Last update: January 21st 2021

This information has been compiled by the Public Entity of Bonaire (OLB) in collaboration with the Public Health Department Bonaire and other organizations.

The list is continually updated. The developments surrounding COVID-19 are unpredictable; situations, rules and circumstances may change at any moment.

For the latest news please see the OLB press releases on its Facebook page.

If you have a question that is not yet included in the list, please e-mail it to info@bonairegov.com

No rights can be derived from the information on the Q&A list. 

Tests and test policy

Which number could I call when I have COVID-19 related symptoms and what happens next?

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms:

  • a nasal cold
  • a runny nose
  • sneezing
  • a sore throat
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • elevated temperature
  • fever
  • sudden loss of smell and/or taste,

you should contact the Public Health Department on 0800 – 0800 (Mon to Sat 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.). Follow their instructions. If they confirm your symptoms, they will organize a COVID-19 test. It is important to self-isolate in the event of respiratory complaints. This entails staying at home, not receiving visitors and limiting contact with your household members to a minimum.

I cannot reach the Public Health Department number 0800-0800 using a foreign phone. Is there another number I can call?

It is possible that the 0800-0800 number may not be accessible with a foreign phone. In such a case you may phone +599 715 5330 during office hours or you could ask, for example, your hotel to place the call for you.

What is the policy on testing for COVID-19 when visiting or living in Bonaire?

A COVID-19 PCR test will be performed when a person suffers from any of the following symptoms: 

  • a nasal cold
  • a runny nose
  • sneezing
  • a sore throat
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • elevated temperature
  • fever
  • sudden loss of smell and/or taste. 

All persons with respiratory symptoms are requested to isolate themselves until the tests results are known.

What are the requirements for the COVID-19 PCR-test before departure to Bonaire?

The PCR test must be performed by an officially recognized laboratory and it must be performed by means of a deep nose and throat swab.
All travelers, 13 years and older, who come to Bonaire are obliged to have taken a PCR test no earlier than 72 hours before their arrival on Bonaire and the result must be negative.
Travelers from Saba and Sint Eustatius who come to Bonaire do not need to take a PCR test.
They must, however, complete a health declaration no earlier than 72 hours or later than 48 hours before departure. This can be done at: https://bonairepublichealth.org/en/form

Will the Public Health Department also be using quick tests?

No, not for the time being. The Public Health Department uses the PCR test because it is reliable and it provides sufficient information. So far, quick tests have been less reliable than PCR tests and they do not provide adequate information.

Where can I have a COVID-19 PCR test done in the Nederlands? May I also undergo a test outside of the Netherlands?

There are a number of different places where you can have a COVID-19 PCR test done in The Netherlands, such as:

* KLM health services
* The laboratory of your general practitioner
* Saltro laboratory
Tests administered by other accredited laboratories are also permitted, as long as they provide a written or digital confirmation of the result.

Tests done by laboratories outside of the Netherlands are also permitted, provided they are accredited and they communicate the result in Dutch or English.

Am I obliged to have a PCR test done when I travel to Bonaire?

Yes, all travelers, 13 years and older, must possess a negative PCR-test result in order to be able to travel to Bonaire. The PCR test must have been done within 72 hours before arrival on Bonaire.
The negative test result must be known before departure; otherwise you will not be permitted to fly. The airline representative will ask you about your test result.
Should you arrive on Bonaire without a negative PCR-test result, you will not be allowed entry and you will be sent back.
For the current requirements regarding travel to Bonaire please read the Q&A “What are the requirements that need to be followed when traveling to Bonaire?”

Travelers from Saba and Sint Eustatius do not have to undergo a PCR test before they travel to Bonaire, but they are required to complete the health declaration form online.

This can be done at: https://bonairepublichealth.org/en/form

Does it make sense to get tested while I have no symptoms?

No, because this does not provide any reliable result. Today the test result may be negative and then the next day it may be positive. A test is only useful if you have any signs or symptoms. In that case a test may indicate that the symptoms are caused by the coronavirus.

What is the procedure after you make an appointment to get tested?

After you phone the Call Center and make an appointment, the test is usually administered the following morning. On the day of the appointment you will need to drive to the Public Health Department’s test location opposite the stadium at Kaya Gilberto F. Croes number 24. Please wear a face mask and bring tissues. When you arrive, the test procedure will be explained to you and then the test will be administered. This will take a few minutes. After the test you should drive straight home. Do not stop at the supermarket but drive straight home. You must remain at home until you are called with the test result. Usually it takes about three days until you receive that call.

You have been tested by the Public Health Department. What’s next?

* Stay at home until the results are known.
* Are you getting sicker or do you need medical help? Do not go to the hospital or the GP. Call the general
practitioner and tell him that you have been tested.
* Take care of personal hygiene.
* Keep a distance of 1.5 meters from housemates.
* Write down who you have had contact with in the
past few days.
In case of a positive test result, Public Health will contact you for information and instructions.
In case of a negative test result you do not have to stay at home anymore. Abide by the general prevailing rules. In the event of new or increasing complaints, have yourself tested again. Do you have a negative result, but you are in quarantine? Then you need to stay in quarantine until this is completed.

There are children with symptoms that could be related to the coronavirus, but they are not getting tested. Why is that?

It is not the case that the Public Health department does not want to test children. If it is necessary children will certainly be tested. However, the test is very unpleasant, especially for small children and that is why we are only testing them if it is really necessitated. Whether testing is necessary is decided jointly with the parents and if needed it is discussed with the family doctor. It depends on the type of symptoms the child is having and whether it had already been in quarantine (and therefore posed no risk to others). In addition we examine whether other family members have symptoms, whether they have been tested or may be tested. Sometimes during this process it becomes evident whether the child has COVID-19 or not . What the Public Health Department deems to be vital is that the child receives proper care and that it does not pose any risk to others.

Why do the reports about the COVID numbers not include more background information about the infections? This is what they do on Curacao.

This is done to protect the privacy of the people who are infected. There are very few infections on Bonaire and if more information is provided, it would be easy to determine who the infected people are.
When it is important to quickly share information about a certain case of infection, this is done. Such was the case, for example, when one of the family doctors on the island was infected.

Where can people who want to travel abroad get tested on Bonaire for the virus?

The Public Health Department will only test you if you have symptoms. If you need a test result for your trip abroad you can use a number of commercial parties on Bonaire. For more information about these various test locations, please call 0800-0800 or contact your family doctor.

Are people tested at the end of their quarantine period?

No, they are not tested. If someone has not developed any symptoms after 10 days of quarantine, you may assume that that person is not infected.

There is a person who has had COVID-19 and was subsequently declared to be healthy again. When this person undergoes a PCR test, the test result is positive. Can this person still come to Bonaire?

Yes, that is allowed, but there are conditions.
This person must submit a statement (in Dutch or English) issued by the Municipal Health Service (GGD) which includes:
* Full name
* Date of birth
* Details regarding the first day of illness
* Details about when this person stopped being contagious
* Details about the travel dates (beware, in order to get a permission the travel date may not be more than a maximum of two months after the date when this person stopped being contagious ).

This information must be emailed -together with the completed health declaration form from the Public Health Department- to publichealth@bonairegov.com This must be done within 72 hours and no later than 48 hours prior to departure.

This person will then receive an e-mail from the Public Health Department stating whether they will be given permission to enter Bonaire. In such cases the Public Health Department will also inform the airline of the decision. For the health declaration form please go to: https://www.bonairepublichealth.org

https://www.bonairepublichealth.org

When traveling to Bonaire I am required to produce a negative PCR test result. May I present the negative result of a QUICK TEST?

No, the Bonaire Public Health Department does not accept the result of a quick test. The reason for this is because a PCR test provides more extensive and more accurate information than a quick test.

When traveling to Bonaire I will need to obtain a PCR test from an accredited laboratory. May I use the GGD (Municipal Health Service)?

No, the GGDs in the Netherlands only test people with symptoms. The test they provide is not meant for healthy people who want to travel. They also do not provide the written test results in your name, which you are required to present when you board and when you disembark on Bonaire. There are several organizations in the Netherlands that provide the test. You may verify whether they work with accredited labs on their websites. Using search terms such as ‘travel test corona’ you will be able to find several providers on the internet.

Questions on the risk of contamination

I have been in contact with a person that tested positive for covid-19: what do i need to do?

I you have been within 1.5 meter for longer than 15 minutes of this person, please stay at home and call 0800 – 0800 for further advice.

If you have been within 1.5 meter less than 15 minutes of this person, please call 0800 – 0800 for further advice.

Are children at risk of infection?

Children and youngsters do not often get infected with the novel coronavirus. Also, they usually do not really get very sick. This is why they are not a special risk group. For a young person to infect an adult is relatively rare.

Corona patients have been admitted to hospital. Is it safe for me to go to the hospital?

It is safe to go to the hospital. Patients with Covid-19 are admitted to special isolation rooms. Other patients are not at risk of becoming infected. The hospital staff is well trained and also used to working with patients with infectious diseases.

How does someone know they have been cured of the coronavirus?

A person who had the virus is declared to be cured when: They feel well again and have had no health problems for 24 hours and it has been more than 7 days since the symptoms occurred. You can only be declared cured in consultation with a nurse from the Public Health Department. Even after that happens, people may still experience certain symptoms such as fatigue for some time.

Travelers who want to come to Bonaire need to have a PCR test done at least 72 hours before their arrival on Bonaire. What are the risks that someone will still get infected during those three days before departure?

It is possible for someone to get infected during those three days. But most of the infected people are intercepted by the PCR test. Most travelers really don’t want to get sick during their vacation, so they will typically observe the rules properly during those last days before departure. Once they are on Bonaire, travelers also have to abide by the rules. After all, if they do not watch out and do not follow the rules they may also get infected on Bonaire.

Some people do not have any symptoms but still test positive. These people are called asymptomatic carriers. What are the risks of these people infecting others on Bonaire?

People who have no symptoms and yet test positive may develop symptoms during a couple of days after they have had the test. This is the reason they are placed in isolation for five days as a precaution. If they develop symptoms after five days they must remain in isolation for a longer period of time. If they do not develop any symptoms during their five-day-isolation period they may end it as -by then- the risk that they could be contagious is very small.

What do we know about being contagious during the incubation period?

The incubation period is the period of time between the moment a person is infected and the moment they become ill. The novel coronavirus is transmitted by droplets that are spread by activities such as coughing, sneezing, talking and singing
A person is contagious from the moment they start to have symptoms. Research has shown, however, that a person may be contagious for up to as many as two days before they start displaying any symptoms. We do know that the sicker a person feels, the more likely they are to spread the virus.

Why is it allowed to visit elderly people in a home, surely they are an especially vulnerable group?

It is true that the elderly are a vulnerable group, which must be protected as much as possible. Everyone must keep 1.5 meters distance from each other, observe good hygiene and stay at home when symptomatic. These rules are extra important for the elderly. Accordingly, homes for the elderly are taking extra measures to provide extra safety. If the elderly were prevented from receiving visitors, however, this would be detrimental to their quality of life. This is the reason why the Public Health Department does not prohibit visits to the elderly. Elderly people may, of course, decide for themselves that they do not want to receive visitors for a while. Or people may decide that they won’t visit elderly people at the present time. Homes for the elderly may also put other measures in place themselves, such as limiting the number of visits per resident. In such cases the residents and visitors will be informed about these additional rules.

May patients in the Mariadal hospital and residents of Kas di Kuido have visitors?

No, the Hospital and Kas di Kuido wants to prevent the virus from being passed on to patients as much as possible so it has decided that patients and residents are currently not allowed to receive visitors.

Quarantine and isolation in relation to covid-19

Why do I have to go into quarantine for ten days when I am not feeling ill at all?

You go into quarantine to establish with certainty whether you have been infected or not. You have been in close contact with someone who is infected with the coronavirus. Even though you do not feel ill it can still turn out during those ten days that you have been infected. If you did not go into quarantine you might infect other people. It is important that you take this seriously. Stay at home and avoid physical contact with other people. If you get symptoms, call 0800 0800 right away to arrange to be tested.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine and isolation both mean that the individual has to separate from other people. As a safety measure healthy people go into quarantine for 10 days after they have been in contact with someone who is infected with the virus. Someone who is infected with the virus goes into isolation. Infected persons will remain in isolation as long as they have symptoms. They will be able to leave isolation if they have been isolated for at least 7 days and have not had any symptoms for 24 hours.

If I return to Bonaire from an area with an orange/red designation code, will I have to go into quarantine?

No, but you do have to meet the requirements for travelers coming to Bonaire. See the Q&A “What are the requirements that have to be met when traveling to Bonaire”, on this page. The color designation of the country you are traveling from does not matter. To prevent the risk of infection as much as possible, the Bonaire Public Health Department urges travelers to adhere to the prevention and hygiene measures during the period between taking the test and arriving on Bonaire. Because it occasionally may happen that someone with a negative PCR test result, later on turns out to be infected, travelers are also requested to adhere to the local measures upon arrival on Bonaire. This is why it is important to adhere to all measures, wherever you are.

When does a person have to be at a central quarantine location, and when may that person be quarantined at home or at a holiday address?

When a traveler arrives on Bonaire without a negative PCR test result, they will have to go into quarantine. Additionally, when a person declares that they have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive, they too have to go into quarantine. Such persons may be quarantined at a home address or a holiday accommodation, but only if the Public Health Department approves the specific location.
In the event the location is not approved, the person in question must be quarantined at a central quarantine location. Such persons must pay all costs related to their stay there.
Travelers from Saba and Sint Eustatius do not have to take a PCR test before coming to Bonaire.
All travelers who arrive on Bonaire must have completed the health declaration form no earlier than 72 hours or later than 48 hours before departure.
This also applies to travelers from Saba and Sint Eustatius.
You may find the health declaration at: https://bonairepublichealth.org/en/form

When does a traveler have to be at a central quarantine location and when may that person be quarantined at home or at a holiday address?

When a traveler arrives on Bonaire without a negative PCR test result, they will have to go into quarantine. Additionally, when a traveler declares that they have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive, they will have to go into quarantine. Such travelers may only be quarantined at a home address or holiday accommodation if the Public Health Department approves the location. In the event the location is not approved, the person in question must be quarantined at a central quarantine location. Such a traveler must pay all costs related to their stay there. Travelers from Saba and Sint Eustatius do not have to take a PCR test before coming to Bonaire. All travelers who arrive on Bonaire must have completed the health declaration form no earlier than 72 hours or later than 48 hours before departure. This also applies to travelers from Saba and Sint Eustatius. You may find the health declaration at: https://bonairepublichealth.org/en/form

Who will pay for the costs when i test positive for COVID-19 or have to stay in quarantine?

In case you need to go into quarantine, you are responsible for any related costs.

In case you will need to go in isolation, this might be medical costs: these costs might be reimbursed by your medical insurance depending on the conditions of your insurance company.

Residents of Bonaire, insured by ZVK, will be reimbursed for the costs of isolation.

It is recommended to check with your insurance company which costs will be reimbursed.

What about quarantine if one person within a family gets infected? Will that person be isolated and will the rest of the family be quarantined? Or will the whole family remain in quarantine in the same house?

The Public Health department evaluates each situation separately. It is most comfortable for an infected person to go into isolation at home. However, this is only possible if the infected person can be sufficiently separated from the rest of the family. Sometimes it is not safe to go into isolation at home, in which case a family will be split up and one or more family members will go into quarantine at a central location.

What happens with travelers who develop symptoms while they are in quarantine and are tested positive?

Those travelers will receive the same medical care as everyone else. Our health care does not differentiate between people. As long as travelers have symptoms and have not recovered yet, they will remain in isolation. They are not allowed to travel back home until clear of the virus.

A person is in quarantine and tests negative for corona. Is this person allowed to move about freely again or must they complete the 10 days of isolation?

Someone who is in quarantine must stay there up to 1o days after their last contact with an infected individual even if they test negative in the meantime. Should this person move about freely, others would be at risk. The Public Health Department issues specific warnings to such people and explains to them why they need to stay in quarantine. If someone who is not in quarantine tests negative they may move about freely after they have received their result.

Behavior and prevention

Basic rules that need to be followed by everybody in Bonaire

  • Maintain 1.5 meters distance from people who are not your household members
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water; only use hand disinfectant in case water and soap are not available.
  • Do not touch your face with your hands.
  • Do not shake hands with people.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Use paper tissues and discard them after use.
  • Stay home (work from home, do not go to school or outside for shopping) if you have to answer one of the following questions with a Yes:
  • Are you experiencing or have you experienced one or more of the following symptoms in the last 24 hours: nasal cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath, elevated temperature, fever, sudden loss of smell and/or taste?
  • Have you had the coronavirus (identified through a laboratory test) and has this been diagnosed within the last 7 days?
  • Do you have a household member who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus (identified by a laboratory test), and have you been in contact with this person while they were still experiencing symptoms?
  • Are you currently in quarantine at home because you have been in direct contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus?

Is it allowed for people to dance at hospitality establishments and are musical bands allowed to perform again?

No, to have predetermined seats is one of the rules in the hospitality sector . The idea is that people should move about as little as possible. Musical groups may not give concerts at the moment and dance events are prohibited. Musical bands are allowed to provide background music only.

How do I use a face mask correctly? And when should I wear a facemask?

Guidelines have been written on how to use a face mask correctly, you will find instructions at: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/communication/ in the document: Advice on Face Masks. But be aware; keeping 1.5 meters distance is still the most important way to prevent the virus from spreading. If you really cannot keep your distance, such as in a bus, car, departure hall, etc. then you must wear a face mask.

Which COVID rules does the Public Health Department impose on companies and other organizations?

These are the COVID-19 rules for companies and organizations as determined by the Public Health Department: Everyone must obey the rule of keeping 1.5 meters distance from each other. In companies and organizations, everyone must wash their hands with soap and water regularly. Everyone must sneeze or cough into their elbow. If someone has symptoms they must go home and stay there. They should then phone the Public Health Call Center at 0800-0800 (Mon to Sat 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.) to make an appointment for a test. Companies and other organizations must ensure that employees and visitors are able to keep 1.5 meters distance from each other and that they can wash their hands regularly. It is also important to clean the premises properly: buildings have to be cleaned properly every day with extra attention to the surfaces that people frequently touch with their hands, such as door knobs. There is no need to disinfect the building. It is important to air all work areas properly by letting fresh air in. Do not, therefore, keep all windows closed, but ventilate the room well, even if you are using an air conditioner. Some air conditioners only cool the air, they do not refresh it. In this case, it is better to switch off the air conditioner twice a day and let fresh air in for at least 15 minutes. Obviously, these are the general rules. Customizing these rules to each specific situation remains important, for example in the health care sector.

Health

How long should someone with a cold or with an elevated body temperature stay at home to recover?

Someone with a cold or with an elevated body temperature should stay at home and get tested. If the test result is negative that person may return to their normal routine unless the symptoms increase or change. In which case that person should contact the family doctor or call 0800-0800 for a new test.

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I am pregnant, should I be especially concerned if i get infected?

No. The course of the infection with the virus is the same in pregnant women as in non-pregnant women. Pregnant women infected with the virus are not at greater risk of a miscarriage. There is also not a greater chance of the baby having any birth defects. This is what scientists know so far.

What is the advice for people with other health problems (asthma, COPD- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes etc.)?

For these people the rules for the prevention of corona are extra important! Keep your distance. Wash your hands regularly. Stay far away from people who are ill or people with respiratory complaints. For more information see: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/en/health-problems-do-the-corona-check/
If you have a chronic cough, sign up for a test should this symptom get worse or change. You should also do this if you develop other symptoms, such as fever, loss of smell and taste, or a sore throat. Please make it a habit to cough into your elbow or a tissue. This is important because you can spread the virus especially when you cough.

If you have a weak immune system, how can you strengthen it to reduce the risk of infection?

It is important to be in good shape. There are no drugs that will increase your resistance. Live healthy. Eat healthy. Get enough sleep. Get enough exercise.

The elderly and people with chronic illnesses are advised to stay at home.

The hospital on Bonaire has a lot of attention and time for corona cases. What happens if the hospital can no longer admit other patients as a result of that?

The hospital devotes its full attention and time to all its patients, whether they have corona or not. Regular medical care is certainly not at risk at the moment. The hospital can handle a large amount of corona-related admissions while the care of other patients continues as usual. If we can no longer admit other patients because we have a lot of corona patients in our hospital, we have agreements with the other islands in our vicinity. In addition, we strive to enforce measures within society in order to reduce the number of infections, i.e. the number of sick people.

What is the best way to air my work area? I am concerned that the air conditioner could spread the virus.

It is important to air all work areas properly by letting fresh air in. Do not, therefore, keep all windows closed, but ventilate the room well, even if you are using an air conditioner. Some air conditioners only cool the air, they do not refresh it. In this case, it is better to switch off the air conditioner twice a day and let fresh air in for at least 15 minutes.

Why have face masks become mandatory in a number of situations, when it was often stated before that face masks were not necessary?

Keeping 1.5 meters distance from each other offers better protection against the virus than using face masks. That is why we indicated in the past that the use of masks is not necessary. In practice, it appears that people are actually less careful about keeping their distance when they are wearing face masks. This is exactly what we do not want to have happen. There are a few circumstances, however, when it is impossible to keep a 1.5 meter distance such as: on public transport, on the bus and at work for people with contact professions (physiotherapists, hairdressers etc.). In situations such as these it is mandatory to wear masks and it is important to strictly follow the hygiene rules. This prevents people from infecting each other in such situations.