Aruba Crushed The Coronavirus Curve
Aruba is now officially COVID-19 free after reporting its first coronavirus case on March 13, 2020.
It’s been over a month since Aruba registered a new coronavirus case.
The last patient with coronavirus left the hospital this week after being isolated for several days in intensive care at the hospital.
How Did Aruba Crush The Coronavirus Curve?
Health leaders such as the World Health Organization advised countries around the globe to help flatten the curve, and Aruba did it.
Aruba managed not only to flatten the curve but brought the number of active cases all the way down to zero.
This accomplishment is due to the public department of health and government testing strategy called “search and destroy”. Testing as many people as possible with symptoms, and isolating positive cases to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The coronavirus curve was also crushed due to several safety measures put in place by the Government to stop the spread such as curfews (toque de queda), shelter in place, samenscholingsverbod (ban on large group gatherings).
Another key to winning the battle against active coronavirus cases was the Aruban community that was urged to call their doctor if any symptoms related to COVID-19 was felt.
A total of 101 coronavirus cases were detected on the island since the first imported case on March 13, 2020. Unfortunately, 3 people died from the virus.
Will Aruba Stay COVID-19 Free?
Although the number of active cases is 0, there is no assurance that the virus is not present in Aruba.
The number of people currently in quarantine (161) is still a concern. What if one or more people in quarantine has the virus?
Another important aspect to keep Aruba COVID-19 free is reopening the border for visitors, who can potentially import the virus.
We all hope the island will stay coronavirus free, however, there are certain aspects the island needs to be aware of to keep the active cases zero.
Strict Coronavirus Controls at Airport
Aruba’s airport will open soon, however, the way you go through the airport is going to change with stricter control to prevent the import and spread of coronavirus.
As visitors enter the airport they will be subject to a 3 layer control that includes:
- Thermal cameras (those with high temperatures will be tested)
- COVID-19 Rapid Testing (results within 90 minutes)
- Checklist with coronavirus related questions
What will happen to visitors who test positive for coronavirus?
Visitors who test positive at the airport (or during their stay in Aruba) for coronavirus will be assigned to a COVID-hotel to isolate and quarantine.
Quarantine or isolation can take up to 2 – 3 weeks.
In case visitors get sick and need medical attention they will be transferred to the hospital.
Before You Travel You Should Know This
Before you travel anywhere, especially to Aruba, you should know that if you show any symptoms of coronavirus, and test positive for the virus, you will need to go into quarantine.
If you’ve booked an expensive hotel, rented a car, and have reservations at the finest restaurants, but end up in a COVID-hotel to isolate, it’s going to ruin your vacation plans, morally and financially.
How can you avoid this?
The best thing to do is not to travel if you have any symptoms related to COVID-19. And protect yourself at all times before and during your flight to avoid getting the virus into your system.
It’s also a good idea to apply for travel insurance, which includes the coverage of pandemic trip cancellation and medical expenses.
When Will Travel Ban Be Lifted?
There is no definite date yet to reopen Aruba’s borders.
However, according to the Tourism Minister, the tentative date is set between June 15 – July 1, 2020, pending official announcement by the Government.
Cruise ships have no tentative date yet to resume operations.
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Tentative Aruba Flight Plans
Four major airlines announced they are ready to continue flight schedules to Aruba as soon as the borders are open again.
The four major airlines that will resume operations are:
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- United Airlines
The amount of tourism is not going to be the same at first, but will gradually grow to a larger number of visitors per month.
Aruba welcomed over 20.000 passengers every week before the coronavirus outbreak. Now it’s estimated that around 2.000 visitors will be allowed into Aruba per week, and this number will gradually increase if the situation around the world improves.
The 4 major airlines that will resume operation as soon as borders are open again will bring 128 flights to the island combined. In February 2020, before the outbreak in Aruba, these 4 major airlines were flying 440 times.
Here’s the amount of flight each airline will start with as the borders open again (compared to before the outbreak):
- American Airlines will start with 56 flights (used to be 137).
- Delta will fly 12 times per month (used to be 73).
- United Airlines will fly 4 times a month (used to be 101)
- JetBlue will fly 56 times per month (used to be 129)
The number of flights and airlines will gradually increase as travel recuperates around the world and in Aruba.
Aruba Continues To Open Economy
The Government moves to phase 3 of reopening the economy of Aruba as of June 1, 2020.
Phase 3 allows more businesses to open including:
- Lottery shops
- Massage parlors, spas, and saunas
- Hair Salons
Establishments that are not yet allowed to open are bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
New Rules For New Normal Lifestyle
Although the active coronavirus cases in Aruba dropped to zero, there are still rules in the new normal lifestyle on the island.
According to the department of public health, each individual has the personal responsibility to take care of their health and they should do this by following rules:
- Maintain social distance
- Practice safe hygiene measures
- Call the doctor if COVID-19 symptoms are felt
Ritz Carlton Casino Becomes Smoke-Free
Gamblers can now enjoy a healthier atmosphere in the casino at Ritz Carlton when they reopen the casino in June as a smoke-free casino.
According to Area General Manager of Ritz Carlton, Steven Redkoles – The decision to transform the casino into a smoke-free environment was voluntary, as a result of the hotel focusing on the wellbeing of its guests and employees.
This is a bold statement by Steven Redkoles that takes the team members, and guests’ health into consideration after the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Casino players that avoid casinos because of the smoke now have an option to try their chance with lady luck in Aruba.
Gamblers who wish to puff a cigar, cigarette or vape, will need to go outside the resort property and return to the casino after.
The casinos in Aruba are set to reopen sometime in June 2020.
The New Normal For Restaurants in Aruba
Restaurants are reopening after the government imposed a lockdown in March 2020.
Slowly going back to normal operations, from take-away to delivery, recently opening for outside dining only and soon hosting guests again for inside dining.
Business seems to return to normal, but diners have to maintain new hygiene protocols in the midst of these coronavirus times.
These safety measures include temperature check before entering restaurants, following markers to your table, safe distancing, and washing your hands.
Restaurant sales dropped compared to last year, but diners expect business to increase after the borders reopen.
Survival of the Restaurants
There are over 300 diners on the island, and all were affected by the coronavirus.
A few restaurants didn’t survive the COVID-19 blow and were forced to close, one example is Taste of Belgium.
Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association expects one hundred restaurants to open within the following weeks. But the majority of restaurants (200+) are expected to reopen their establishment in November, or at a later date.
297 Establishments Are Hygiene Certified
According to Aruba’s Tourism Authority, a total of 297 businesses related to the tourism sector on the island received their pre-check for Health & Happiness Code.
Health & Happiness Code is a new clean and hygiene certification program for businesses. It’s a sticker that each establishment should display at the forefront of their business that ensures that every safety measure was taken to create a safe environment for visitors, locals, and employees.
The business that received the pre-check is in the following sectors:
- Food & beverage
- Food trucks
New Bird Species Found in Aruba
A new bird species was discovered on the island by nature group “Aruba Flora & Fauna”.
After investigation, the newfound bird species is known as the “Variegated Flycatcher” (Empidonomus Varius.)
It was the first time this type of bird was noticed in Aruba on May 17, 2020.
The finders of the bird gave it a local name, “Tirano Raya”.
It’s a new bird in Aruba but found in different countries including, Venezuela, Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina.
It’s believed that the bird made its way to Aruba from Venezuela, because of a navigation error by the Flycatcher and it wound up far outside its habitat.
Birdwatchers now have a new bird to spot and cross off their checklist in Aruba.
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