AIRPORT--There is no cause for panic, as the wheelchair-bound passenger in the video being circulated on social media does not have symptoms of coronavirus, said Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) chief operations officer (COO) Michel Hyman on Friday night.
“It was insinuated that the passenger was infected with the novel coronavirus and we are hereby confirming that there should not be any cause for panic, as this is not the case,” said Hyman.
The passenger was a Filipino man who was travelling from Manila, Philippines, to Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI). He arrived St. Maarten on Friday afternoon via a Royal Dutch Airlines KLM flight.
According to the airport, the passenger was feeling nauseous and had subsequently vomited. The airport’s Rescue and Firefighting (RFF) emergency team responded to the situation.
The passenger was taken to the airport’s isolation room around 5:00pm. Airport physician Dr. Sonia Swanston-Meade then examined the man for symptoms of, and possible exposure to, the coronavirus.
Dr. Swanston-Meade concluded that the man’s symptoms were inconsistent with the coronavirus, as he had no fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms. She determined the passenger was probably suffering from a recently-diagnosed chronic illness and was weakened due to dehydration and possible electrolyte imbalance.
The man was cleared for travel to the BVI after being rehydrated. However, the airline prevented him from boarding.
He was then transported to the emergency room of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) at 6:55pm.