COVID-19: REGIONAL ROUNDUP/3 April 2020

A ROUNDUP OF REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS HEADLINES

 

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

 

INMATES WITH SIX MONTHS OR LESS TO SERVE COULD BE RELEASED EARLY (antiguaobserver.com) Discussions were underway, Thursday, that could see the release of prisoners with six months or less to serve. Prisoners have complained about the suspension of food deliveries by relatives and their health and safety in confined conditions. The minister responsible for prisons, Stedroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin, said that this was an ongoing discussion in the region not just in Antigua & Barbuda. A 20% discount on the cost of fuel to fishermen has also been announced to support food security. Two more cases – a woman who had flown in from New York and a female yacht worker -were confirmed on Thursday bringing the total of active cases to nine.

 

ARUBA

ACT OF KINDNESS IN TIMES OF CRISIS (arubatoday.com). To recognise the work of the Aruba Police Department, several businesses got together to make donations: Compra NV donated a selection of fruit, Taco Bell delivered food to the night shift, others donated drinks and other products as a show of gratitude. Aruba has reported 61 active cases of COVID-19.

 

BAHAMAS

TWO COVID-19 PATIENTS DIE IN HOSPITAL(thenassauguardian.com). Two patients suffering from COVID-19 have died in hospital, it was announced on Thursday, 3 April. Earlier, the sister of the Minister of Immigration Elsworth Johnson died on the way from Bimini Island to hospital in Nassau. It was reported, but no confirmation is available, that she had not been tested for the virus. A total of 132 people have been charged with breaking the curfew which has been in place since 24 March. There are 22 reported active cases of the virus.

 

 

BARBADOS

24-HOUR CURFEW ANNOUNCEMENT STIMULATES PANIC BUYING (loopnewsbarbados.com). Barbadians rushed to the supermarkets, minimarts and gas stations to stock up on food supplies and essential items before government’s mandated 24-hour curfew came into force on 3 April. Shoppers complained that they were not given enough notice about the curfew. Barbados has reported 51 active cases of Covid-19.

 

BONAIRE, STATIA, SABA

NOT THE TIME FOR NAME-CALLING, DIVISION OR BLAME GAME’ (bes-reporter.com). St. Eustatius PLP leader, Clyde van Putten, says he is deeply concerned about the arrival of the COVID-19 virus on the island, but that it is not the time for division, name-calling or what he calls ‘the blame game’. He also said that he was concerned with some of the comments and postings on social media which, in his opinion, were not contributing in a positive way to the present situation. Statia has reported its first two cases of COVID-19.

 

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

GOV’T FORCED TO ALLOW ENTRY OF LOCALS (bvinews.com/news) Premier Andrew Fahie has said that the BVI was forced to allow for the return of nationals after the closure of borders. Legal arguments about the rights of nationals to return home prompted the move, which was agreed so long as those concerned were quarantined. ‘If I had my way, they wouldn’t have reached back at all. I ain’t afraid to tell them,’ said Fahie. There are three active cases reported on the BVI.

 

CUBA

OVER 25,000 PEOPLE ARE UNDER PRIMARY HEALTHCARE SURVEILLANCE IN THEIR HOMES (oncubanews.com). The number of active cases continues to climb with the total now at 248. The island’s Ministry of Public Health reports that of recent positive cases, age varies from a three-year-old to an elderly woman of 79, while the prevailing age range is between 30 and 60 years. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Cuba complained that the restrictions of the US embargo had thwarted the donation of masks, ventilators and tests to detect the coronavirus that was sent to the island by the Chinese electronic giant Alibaba.

 

CURACAO

MILITARY PROVIDES CORONA TEST TEAM (curacaochronicle.com). A recently trained team consisting of a general military doctor and two general military nurses will support Department of Health testing teams. In order to ensure that language is not a barrier to taking tests, a military nurse has also been trained who speaks Papiamento. Curacao has reported seven active cases of COVID-19.

 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

DOMINICAN GOVERNMENT EXTENDS SOCIAL DISTANCING PERIOD (dominicantoday.com). The curfew has been extended for a further 15 days from 5pm to 6am. Additional social distancing measures require the population to remain in their homes, and only allows businesses offering priority services to open their doors (supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, retail stations, fuels, and some from the agricultural sector). The Dominican Republic has reported 1,404 active cases.

 

GRENADA

MORE THAN 100 CHARGED WITHIN FIRST THREE DAYS OF MANDATORY 24-HOUR CURFEW (nowgrenada.com). The greatest number of charges were laid between 6am on Thursday to 6am on Friday when 44 people were charged with breaking the curfew. The total number charged since Monday is 115, with most arrests in the parish of St George. ‘This increase was largely due to the employment of drone technology which now allows us wider capabilities to enforce these regulations,’ said Vannie Curwen, Head of the Community Relations Department. Grenada has reported 10 active cases of COVID-19.

 

GUADELOUPE

THREE FRENCH INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALLERS PLEDGE DONATION TO TEACHING HOSPITAL. (20minutes.fr/sport) Three international French footballers have pledged an unknown donation to the main teaching hospital in Pointe-a-Pitre. The three, Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid) and Anthony Martial (Manchester United) are all of Guadeloupean origin. Guadeloupe has reported 99 active cases of COVID-19.

 

HAITI

HAITI DOCTORS FLEE STATE-RUN HOSPITAL TO AVOID CORONAVIRUS (voanews.com). The rooms of the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince are largely empty this week due to many doctors and nurses refusing to work for fear of becoming infected with the coronavirus. ‘We are already working under conditions that are not normal for most hospitals, and now it’s gotten worse,”’ said nurse Marie Catherine, referring to the lack of protective equipment available to frontline health workers. Haiti has 17 active cases of COVID-19, with more than 200 people in quarantine awaiting test results.

 

JAMAICA
VIRUS TERROR – HUNT ON FOR VOLUNTEERS AS HEALTHCARE WORKERS SHY AWAY FROM TESTING PERSONS (jamaica-gleaner.com) The Ministry of Health and Wellness is seeking volunteers to caring out testing for COVID-10 as some healthcare workers have expressed fear about conducting the tests. The Ministry of Health has said that Jamaica has the capacity to conduct 1,260 tests weekly but that only 153 tests had been carried out this week. National epidemiologist Dr Karen Webster-Kerr said that training of health staff to carry out the tests were continuing. ‘We understand the fear but we must overcome it,’ she said. The widely used testing method was from a swab from the back of the nostril or throat. Meanwhile, a post-COVID-19 virus plan was being put in place by the Ministry of Tourism in the form of a Recovery Task Force. Jamaica has reported 42 active cases.

 

MARTINIQUE

AIR FRANCE FLIGHTS THIS WEEK (martinique.franceantilles.fr) A minimal air service to and from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Cayenne(French Guyana) and Paris is in place. Permission to board the flights is restricted to tourists needing to return home, those who have urgent personal or professional reasons for repatriation. Martinique has 108 active cases of COVID-19.

 

PUERTO RICO

LAWMAKERS CALL ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO ADDRESS PUERTO RICO’S VULNERABILITY TO COVID-19 (thehill.com). Democratic lawmakers are calling on Vice President Pence, who leads the administration’s coronavirus task force, to provide information on how he plans to address unique obstacles Puerto Rico faces throughout the pandemic. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said in a letter to Pence that the administration was slow to provide the U.S. territory adequate aid after hurricanes Irma and Maria. ‘As the COVID-19 pandemic hits Puerto Rico, these economic and public health risks will grow and risk exacerbating the crisis,’ the lawmakers said, adding, ‘the Trump administration’s actions to delay and impede the island’s economic and health care disaster recovery will result in further grave harm to the island’s residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Puerto Rico has reported 301 active cases of the virus.

 

ST-KITTS-NEVIS

HON VINCE AMORY DENOUNCES MISINFORMATION (facebook.com/sknismedia) Vince Amory, the Minister with Responsibility for Labour and Social Affairs, has denounced what he called “destructive fake news” circulating on social media in which it was claimed that cheques for income assistance up to EC$1000 per month would be available on Friday 3 April,  at the Social Security Board.  Minister Vance Amory said that the cheques were not yet ready and that the ‘fake news’ was being spread to cause confusion. St Kitts-Nevis has reported nine active cases.

 

ST LUCIA

WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT IF WE KEEP FIGHTING EACH OTHER’ (stlucianewsonline.com)  ‘I am appealing to everyone to please put our differences aside. Let us work together and support one another. Let us be disciplined, practice self-isolation especially when we go out in public. It is for our own safety and that of our families,” PM Alan Chastanet said. The island has recorded 12 active cases and the country is currently under a 24-hour curfew for seven days.

 

ST VINCENT

ONLY NINE PASSENGERS ALLOWED ON BUSES (news784.com) As SVG records two new active cases of COVID-19, measures have been outlined by the Government regarding public transportation. Minister of Health Luke Browe stated that the maximum capacity for public buses has now been reduced from 13 to nine passengers.

 

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

COVID-19 CASES REPORT 6 DEATHS (newsday.co.tt). The recorded number of deaths from the COVID-19 cases now totals six. If the population did not heed the warnings to stay at home, said Minister of Health Terrence Delalsingh, it would hurt the ability of frontline health workers to confront the pandemic. A map of COVID-19 cases on Trinidad & Tobago has been published to show the distribution of confirmed cases. Trinidad & Tobago now has 90 active cases.

 

US VIRGIN ISLANDS

USVI ELIGIBLE FOR US$2.9M COVID-19 FUNDING FROM US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (vi.gov/news) The US Virgin Islands are eligible for US$2.9m in immediate funding for protective equipment for first responders. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has granted a Major Disaster Declaration which will trigger the release of federal funds. Governor Albert Bryan Jr welcomed the move but said that “declaration is not as expansive as we have hoped”. He said that federal aid is needed for individuals and households affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The US Territory has a reported 37 active cases.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Lin clown
    April 5, 2020

    If you RASS B say we recovered FASTER after MARIA,you would be giving the Government THUMBS UP.HYPOCRITE.WE WILL FIGHT COVID-19 ON ALL FRONTS.WE WILL WIN,without the help of people like you.

    • Ras B
      April 5, 2020

      Lin Clown,
      You are truly a clown who seems to lack the understanding of the intended message. I was highlighting the advice given after Hurricane David by the interim Government led by Mr. O J Seraphin. At that time there was a recognition of our most valuable resource and efforts were made by the then government to utilise it for the greater good. Today, our most valuable resource is our national passport, so our focus is different. Unfortunately, we cannot travel as a result of the pandemic and after the tremendous wastage of Dominica’s Money during the last elections with foreign artiste being paid upwards of a million U S dollars to perform for one night, Dominica is broke. Every other country is rolling out a financial package to ease the impact of the pandemic except Dominica. Can you not see that what we are talking about is collecting Tax, though only the health carers and other essential services are working. Does that help you to understand that we are broke?

  2. Me
    April 5, 2020

    While we applaud the gov’t. for its attempts to reduce and manage this viral outbreak, I would like to remind our people and the gov”t. that the precautions and declarations that have been implemented in this time of emergency, are rights that belong to the people. As we the people have been willing to accept and abide by these emergency measures, let it be made clear that upon cessation of these emergency declarations, all basic rights and freedoms espoused in our constitution must revert to the people. Be alert my fellow Dominicans. Don’t let this neighbor borrow your tool, and never bring it back!

  3. Ras B
    April 4, 2020

    Hey not rejoicing but every Caribbean country now has the disease. Should I say I told you so? Even if I did it would not help our current disposition. We need to strive to improve our conditions and successfully fight off this disease. To do that we need all hands on deck, we need a clarity of purpose and an honesty which to date seems to have escaped us.

    Covid here, we need to contain it-(a) Quarantine, social distancing, reduction of socialisation (curfew) etc.
    (b) We need to close our ports, there has never been a case which originated in the Caribbean, they have all been imported.
    (c) we need to start testing health care professionals to reduce the risk of nosocomial spread.
    (d) We need financial support ( fiscal responsibility in our leaders) The diarrhoea of funds at election time should never be allowed to recur.
    (e) We need to encourage our farmers to produce short term crops to feed the masses. Look how quickly we recovered after hurricane David in 1979! The soil is…

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