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Thread: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Barth

  1. #1
    EddyG is offline
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    President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Barth

    St. Barth President Bruno Magras has always appreciated American visitors to St. Barth. Many are concerned about current and future visits and so I asked Pres. Magras a few questions about this. Many answers are not known now, but at least it's good to know what is not known - you're not missing out on some facts. Below are my questions and his responses - in blue. I hope to provide updates as I learn of them.

    And a photo of Bruno and Marius from the Le Select 60th.

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    Information request for English Speaking Friends of St. Barth Regarding Restrictions

    There is confusion if St. Barth must follow all the rules set in place for France. Are provisions being made to the rules that consider the special situation of St. Barth? If so, does the Collectivite have the authority to adjust on its’ own? Can authorities on French St. Martin set restrictions for St. Barth without consulting with the Collectivite?

    Yes, on the matter of health, Saint-Barths must follow the rules set in place by the French Government. It is the same situation in all the other French overseas territories with the exception of French Polynésia and New Caledonia. The French Government is represented by the Prefet of Guadeloupe and the Préfete délégué of Saint-Barths and Saint-Martin. They have full authority to put in application those rules.

    It seems that airlines from the USA will not be providing any information regarding the status of the SXM airport. The SXM airport is closed to non-residents. Are you able to anticipate how much advance notice about status changes will be provided to airlines that use this airport? If St. Barth remains free of new virus cases, will a request be made to allow travelers from SBH to connect to flights from SXM?

    The international airport of Juliana is located on a foreign territory.
    The territorial Council of Saint-Barth does not have any authority on the decisions of a foreign country. We do not know when the SXM airport will be reopen to traffic and in which conditions.
    Of course we are working to have our Island free of the virus. If we succeed a request to reopen the Island will be made to the French Government. Having said that, we do not know what will be the answers of the foreign neighbors like Dutch Sint-Maarten, Antigua, St-Kitts and Puerto Rico.

    The current restrictions are in place until 15 April. Are you able to anticipate how many days before the 15th the Collectivite will receive notice of what to expect after the 15th? Or will the next notice come out on the 15th?

    The date to end the quarantine is a decision to the French Government. The 15 of April is the actual date. It might be postponed.. We have no idea of what will be the future.

    Is it possible that restrictions will be loosened for people already on the island if the island remains closed to new arrivals? If so, is there a guess on when some restrictions can be adjusted? No idea at all.

    Which authority will decide when US travelers can visit St. Barth?
    As soon as the Island is virus free and reopen to international traffic.
    It’s too early to give a date.

    For people in the USA that plan to visit St. Barth later this year there is no website in English to visit to get current accurate information about travelling here. Can you recommend where to get this type of information? The problem is that airlines in the USA do not plan on providing this information.

    That’s normal because we don’t ourselves when the situation will get back to normal. Of Course we all wish that it will be the soonest as possible.

  2. #2
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 2,125

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Thank you for your efforts Ed!

  3. #3
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,706

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Thanks for sharing this information with us, Ed. Greatly appreciated.

  4. #4
    EddyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2011 Posts: 611

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    There is a Collectivite meeting about the virus Sat. morning. I'll try to find out what was decided. Some say it's about testing all here and others about getting more supplies for the hospital.

  5. #5
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,821

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by EddyG View Post
    There is a Collectivite meeting about the virus Sat. morning. I'll try to find out what was decided. Some say it's about testing all here and others about getting more supplies for the hospital.
    I saw a post that he wants to test everyone on the island


    Andy

  6. #6
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 26,344

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Thanks for this important info Ed.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  7. #7
    EddyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2011 Posts: 611

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Here is a report of the meeting today as reported by le Journal. Bruno is trying hard to get the island opened.

    le journal st barths :
    The territorial council discussed this morning the screening project for the entire population of the island. Two million euros have been released for this purpose.



    With an envelope of two million euros entered in the budget, "we have seen big," said Bruno Magras. The President explained to the territorial council, that he urgently assembled this Saturday morning, the project of screening the entire population.

    "The objective is to reassure the population and to obtain the lifting of the containment from the government," he said. "For that it is necessary that the tests are reliable and that the analyzes behind are correctly carried out".

    Here is the plan: buy four machines at 110,000 euros each. Each of these machines designed by Cepheim can analyze sixteen samples per hour, with limited human resources. These are PCR tests, those performed by the nose with long cotton swab species.

    Once the machines are on site, under the direction of ARS, a test protocol will be implemented. It is not yet defined, but it would start a priori with the symptomatic people, then the caregivers, the exposed professionals, and finally the population as a whole, if it is voluntary.

    The Community also aims to carry out blood tests to detect people who have been infected and healed without necessarily knowing it, in order to estimate a rate of immunity of the population of the island. However, to date, scientists are uncertain whether having the coronavirus completely immunizes the individual.

    The risk for Saint-Barthélemy is that the time to buy and bring these machines, the evolution of the global health crisis changes needs and emergencies. The other risk is the limited reliability of this screening, at around 70%. "But there is no quick fix, no test is 100% guaranteed right now. The urgency is to restart life on the island. And if we don't bring our stone to the building, we will not be able to claim anything. The most important thing is to start the tests and restart the activity of the island as quickly as possible. "

    The deliberation was adopted unanimously this morning. It authorizes the President to entrust the market to the company Solutech, without going through the call for tenders box since it is a case of "urgent urgency", to order the machines and operate them. And to change a line in the primitive budget adopted on March 20: the elected officials withdrew 500,000 euros which had been allocated to the educational farm, and 1.5 million to the electrification and reinforcement of the networks, to concentrate them on the plan of fight against the Covid-19.

    In addition, on Saturday April 4, only two confirmed cases of coronavirus patients remain on the island. The first four infected are healed, which means they've been tested negative for the virus twice in a row. According to Patrick Bordjel, elected United for Saint-Barthélemy and doctor by profession, around thirty tests have been carried out on our island since the start of the epidemic.

  8. #8
    EddyG is offline
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    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    And this:


  9. #9
    EddyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2011 Posts: 611

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

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  10. #10
    andynap is offline
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    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    If there are no new cases on the island why test everyone? I understand they want to lift the lockdown but I doubt the island will be open for business while the virus is raging elsewhere.


    Andy

  11. #11
    EddyG is offline
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    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    My thought is that they may want to first open the island to those that are here right now without allowing new visitors. This would make life much better for the residents while waiting for less restrictions later. And it may be one of the safest places in the world to avoid the virus.

  12. #12
    elgreaux is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Saint Barth Posts: 10,538

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    If there are no new cases on the island why test everyone? I understand they want to lift the lockdown but I doubt the island will be open for business while the virus is raging elsewhere.
    because many people can be positive but asymptomatic ... but contagious...
    the issue is apparently the test they are talking about tells if you are positive the day of the test, but you could still get it the next day...
    this test does not show if you already had it, and are in theory "immune"...

  13. #13
    Izzy is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2016 Posts: 620

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    If there are no new cases on the island why test everyone? I understand they want to lift the lockdown but I doubt the island will be open for business while the virus is raging elsewhere.
    The presence of undetected infections on the island is a near certainty. This video explaining exponential growth (which is how the pandemic behaves) may help show the importance of identifying cases at this point.

    As Ellen notes, asymptomatic (and subclinical) cases are common - perhaps as high as 50% based on data from Iceland where an aggressive testing program has been used. Not entirely comparable, but what was done in the Italian town of Vo gives some indication of how population testing can help. The nasal swab tests have limitations (up to 30% of active cases may be missed) but are the best bet at control in conjunction with the strong socal distancing measures that are in place.

    The island presents a relatively unique situation to use mass testing (small population, no direct borders other than the sea, near lockdown, financial ability, etc.) and it is wise to take full advantage of this to help protect the population. A challenge now, as the announcement suggests, is to get testing in place quickly.

    I suspect the one time testing strategy will need to be expanded to some sort of intermittent testing strategy guided by initial testing results in order to determine appropriate local restrictions

    The significant issues that will be encountered when reopening to the outside is considered may be even more challenging IF the island remains relatively spared but, from where I sit in my bunker, I would be happy to deal with those then.

  14. #14
    EddyG is offline
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    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    I asked Bruno Magras today what to expect next and he said to wait until Macron speaks on Monday and then maybe a decision for St. Barth on Wednesday.

  15. #15
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,774

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by EddyG View Post
    Here is a report of the meeting today as reported by le Journal. Bruno is trying hard to get the island opened.

    le journal st barths :
    The territorial council discussed this morning the screening project for the entire population of the island. Two million euros have been released for this purpose.



    With an envelope of two million euros entered in the budget, "we have seen big," said Bruno Magras. The President explained to the territorial council, that he urgently assembled this Saturday morning, the project of screening the entire population.

    "The objective is to reassure the population and to obtain the lifting of the containment from the government," he said. "For that it is necessary that the tests are reliable and that the analyzes behind are correctly carried out".

    Here is the plan: buy four machines at 110,000 euros each. Each of these machines designed by Cepheim can analyze sixteen samples per hour, with limited human resources. These are PCR tests, those performed by the nose with long cotton swab species.

    Once the machines are on site, under the direction of ARS, a test protocol will be implemented. It is not yet defined, but it would start a priori with the symptomatic people, then the caregivers, the exposed professionals, and finally the population as a whole, if it is voluntary.

    The Community also aims to carry out blood tests to detect people who have been infected and healed without necessarily knowing it, in order to estimate a rate of immunity of the population of the island. However, to date, scientists are uncertain whether having the coronavirus completely immunizes the individual.

    The risk for Saint-Barthélemy is that the time to buy and bring these machines, the evolution of the global health crisis changes needs and emergencies. The other risk is the limited reliability of this screening, at around 70%. "But there is no quick fix, no test is 100% guaranteed right now.
    From Le Journal

    A FIRST COVID-19 TEST AUTOMATION EXPECTED NEXT WEEK
    04/15/2020


    Bruno Magras gave details in an interview with Martinique La 1re, Tuesday, April 14, on the progress of the screening project for the entire population.
    He said the first of four test machines was due "next week". The other three must arrive "the first half of May", says the President of the Community.

    As a reminder, these machines at 110,000 euros each have the capacity to test sixteen patients per hour, via PCR samples, that is to say the swab in the nose. The ARS has not yet released its screening strategy, but it should give priority to symptomatic people, caregivers, the elderly.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  16. #16
    Izzy is offline
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    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by JEK View Post
    From Le Journal
    Bruno Magras gave details in an interview with Martinique La 1re, Tuesday, April 14, on the progress of the screening project forsaid the first of four test machines was due "next week". The other three must arrive "the first half of May", says the President... ARS has not yet released its screening strategy, but it should give priority to symptomatic people, caregivers, the elderly.
    Macron seemed to hinge easing of restrictions on France becoming able to test anyone with a symptom. So the on-island capability of testing symptomatic individuals may be more important for St Barth to ease restrictions, regardless of timing relative to the rest of France, than is the planned population screening for the island. Macron was not a fan of screen testing the whole French population ("ça n’aurait aucun sens") but that would be even more daunting an operation than testing the whole island...

    Testing capabilities on the island will also allow for more aggressive contact tracing of known cases, whether use of a tracking app that Macron brought up is widely accepted or not.

  17. #17
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,774

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by JEK View Post
    From Le Journal

    A FIRST COVID-19 TEST AUTOMATION EXPECTED NEXT WEEK
    04/15/2020


    Bruno Magras gave details in an interview with Martinique La 1re, Tuesday, April 14, on the progress of the screening project for the entire population.
    He said the first of four test machines was due "next week". The other three must arrive "the first half of May", says the President of the Community.

    As a reminder, these machines at 110,000 euros each have the capacity to test sixteen patients per hour, via PCR samples, that is to say the swab in the nose. The ARS has not yet released its screening strategy, but it should give priority to symptomatic people, caregivers, the elderly.

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    Imminent arrival
    of an automaton
    Covid-19
    A first automated test is expected in Saint-Barth during the week. But it takes about fifteen days before the start of screening as such.




    Bruno Magras gave details, during the territorial council of April 17, on the generalized screening campaign that the territorial council wishes to set up. He indicated that the first of the four automates the tests expected "next week" (this week, note), by plane from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. The other three must arrive "the first half of May", says the President of the Community.
    The first machine will be accompanied by a thousand test cartridges. "The time of the installer, to verify the calibrations, to stop the test protocol; we will also have to have the swabs that go with it. It will take at least two weeks after receiving the machine before starting the screening. It will probably be reserved first for symptomatic people, then for caregivers, ”explains Bruno Magras.


    Regarding serological tests, obtained from a blood prize or a Trod (prick at the fingertip), different sampling techniques exist. “Four tests have been received by the Institut Pasteur and the ARS. We plan to order 400 of each, or 1,600 tests. 800 will remain at the Institut Pasteur in Guadeloupe, the rest will come to Saint-Barthélemy. If it works well, we will order more. "
    The first Cepheid machine will be accompanied by a thousand test cartridges.


    Serological tests should make it possible to detect people who have been infected with the virus, even when they have recovered. However, the immunity of patients once they have been infected is not yet scientifically proven, although it is a privileged hypothesis.


    Automata at 110,000 euros each on the capacity of the tester capture patients per hour, via PCR samples, that is to say the swab in the nose. Each test is carried out from a cartridge which costs 40 euros.


    "If all goes well, we can more easily plead for an at least partial deconfinement, so that the island can restart. I hope that on May 11, the general deconfinement will be pronounced, including in Saint-Barthélemy, "declared the President. "Will it be necessary to ask people who arrive to be tested, this is a question that arises, on one step yet the answer. "
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  18. #18
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,116

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    the tests may be a waste of time and money. just because someone tests negative for this test will not make that person immune to getting the virus the next day. its more of a feel good test so the restaurants can open, etc.

    Rumors on the island, restaurants may open for inside dining the middle of June.

    rumors also suggest that the Island may not open the border till sometime in october. who knows, both are just rumors.

  19. #19
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,774

    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    If the entire population tests negative (unlikely) there is no chance of your scenario. If people are identified as infected, then they can be isolated, their contacts can be isolated and the spread controlled. This is exactly what should be done everywhere to control reopening. If I were a resident I would be highly in favor of the mass test.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  20. #20
    didier is offline
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    Re: President Bruno Magras answers questions regarding the virus situation on St. Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by JEK View Post
    If the entire population tests negative (unlikely) there is no chance of your scenario. If people are identified as infected, then they can be isolated, their contacts can be isolated and the spread controlled. This is exactly what should be done everywhere to control reopening. If I were a resident I would be highly in favor of the mass test.

    I disagree with your thoughts jek. the testing, it only gives people a false sense of security. if everyone tests negative, which I think is the most likely outcome for this island. it would mean nothing. they don't know how this virus is really spread. could be coming in on shipments to the island.

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