A ROUNDUP OF REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS HEADLINES
FIRST TWO CONFIRMED CASESwww.gov.ai). A female visitor from the US and a local man were the first to test positive for Covid-19 in Anguilla, it was announced yesterday. Out of a total of nine suspected cases, five tested negative, two positive and two are pending.
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
PM WARNS PUBLIC OF LOOMING CURFEW (antiguaobserver.com). Prime Minster Gaston Browne said on 25 March that he may impose a curfew if the public continues to disregard guidelines on social distancing and gathering. “If we fail to be responsible, then the Cabinet will be forced to take action, which will result in a curtailment of personal freedoms and further socio-economic hardship,” he said via his Facebook account. Antigua & Barbuda has seven reported cases of Covid-19.
ARUBA HAS A TOTAL OF 156 GUESTS(arubatoday.com). CEO of Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association Tisa LaSorte reported that more than 80% of all hotels have suspended operations and closed their doors until further notice. A minimum service is available to the remaining 156 guests. Aruba has reported 18 active cases of Covid-19.
NO EASTER CAMPING IN BONAIRE THIS YEAR (bes-reporter.com). Traditional Easter weekend seaside camping has been cancelled this year. Bonaire so far has no recorded cases of Covid-19.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
“VI IS HIGHLY CAPABLE OF RESPONDING TO CRISES” (virginislandsnewsonline.com)As the British Virgin Islands clocks up its first two cases of Covid-19, Governor Augustus JU Jaspert said that the BVI is equipped to respond to the crisis, like previous crises that have afflicted the British Overseas Territory.
CUBAN DOCTORS TRAVEL TO ITALY TO HELP FIGHT COVID-19 (thecubanews.net). A Cuban medical team made up of 52 health professionals will arrive on Sunday to help fight Covid-19 in Lombardy, the hardest hit Italian region. This is the sixth Cuban team to join the fight against the pandemic in the wider world and the first to travel to Europe. Cuba has reported 65 cases of the virus.
ONE MORE CASE CONFIRMED (curacaochronicle.com). The total reported cases in Curacao are now seven with 1,456 residents recently returned being monitored at home during an isolation period of 14 days. So far, Curacao has experienced one death from Covid-19.
DOMINICAN AGRO CAN MEET CONSUMPTION (dominicantoday.com). The supply of Dominican agro products is guaranteed, as is the sale price to consumers, according to National Confederation of Agricultural Producers president, Eric Rivero. In 2019, the Dominican Republic consumed 14 million sacks of rice and eight million tons of chicken. Reported active cases of Covid-19 continue to rise with the number now at 475. So far, there have been 10 deaths attributed to the virus.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLAN FOR FOOD SECURITY TO BE ROLLED OUT (nowgrenada.com). The Ministry of Agriculture is finalising a plan for food security. Grenada’s economy is largely dependent on food imports. The Ministry is asking farmers to focus on planting staples like dasheen, sweet potato, vegetables and another short term (three-month) crops. Grenada has reported seven active cases of Covid-19.
The deployment of a helicopter carrier, essentially a floating amphibious hospital, to the French Territories in the Caribbean due to arrive in early April, has been welcomed by most officials, although some have cited an ongoing lack of respirators and masks. (la1ere.francetvinfo.fr)
CORONAVIRUS EXPOSES PRECARIOUS LIVING CONDITIONS IN HAITI (haitiantimes.com). Food prices have soared, remittances have declined, and medical equipment is in short supply in a country where most people live on less than US$2 per day. It is estimated that Haiti, with a population of around 11 million, has less than 40 physicians able to manage infected patients, and around 60 ventilators. So far, the country has reported eight active cases.
AXED WORKERS TO GET PAYOUT (jamaicagleaner.com). The Jamaican government has announced a US$74 million Covid-19 contingency package, including payouts for workers who have lost their jobs since 10 March due to the pandemic. Fifty-one Jamaicans, including students, have been stranded at Grantley Adams International airport, Barbados, after Caribbean Airlines cancelled their flight home. Jamaica has 26 reported cases.
CLOSURE OF NON-ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES(gov.ms/news). Following the government’s decision to close all non-essential businesses for 14 weeks, from 26 March, civil servants, except those in the essential workers’ category, have been asked to work from home. Montserrat has two confirmed case of Covid-19, with other possible cases pending.
PUERTO RICO UNVEILS RECORD US$787 MILLON PACKAGE TO FIGHT COVID-19 (apnews.com). “We’re going to win this war,” said Governor Wanda Vázquez. Puerto Rico is struggling through a 13-year recession in addition to the fallout from Hurricane Maria and a string of recent strong earthquakes that together caused billions of dollars in losses. The country has reported 62 active cases of the virus.
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR RECEIVES MILLIONS (sknis.kn). Following the confirmation of the first two cases of Covid-19 virus in St Kitts on Wednesday, the St Kitts-Nevis government has announced a series of measures to alleviate hardship. These include an injection of EC$10 million into the agricultural sector, the waiving of water payments for farmers for six months, and a payment of EC$1,000 a month to each insured person who is laid off or unemployed as a result of the virus. The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis will also facilitate a loan repayment moratorium for six months.
SECURITY MINISTER WARNS THOSE WHO SMUGGLE PEOPLE FROM MARTINIQUE TO ST LUCIA (stlucianewsonline.com). Several reports have surfaced that Saint Lucians who were in Martinique are being clandestinely brought into Saint Lucia since France closed its borders to combat the virus. The island has so far reported three active cases of Covid-19.
ISOLATION CENTRE AT ARGYLE WILL BE READY FOR THE FIRST WEEK IN APRIL (news784.com). Minister of Health, Luke Browne, says the isolation facility at Argyle is on schedule for delivery in the first week of April. He also reported that the only Vincentian who has so far tested positive for COVID-19 is in good health and high spirits. The Ministry has taken a sample from her to do a repeat test to determine if she is now COVID-19 free and can be given medical clearance.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
POLICE MOVE TO ORANGE ALERT TO ENFORCE ISOLATION (newsday.co.tt). Following the announcement that all non-essential activities will be banned from Sunday midnight and that all non-essential workers are to stay at home, the police will be on the streets to enforce the restrictions. “You see the liming and congregating? The police will enforce the law,” said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. An elderly Trinidadian man, with underlying health issues, has died, the first death associated with the virus on the twin-island state. Total of confirmed cases is 64.
US VIRGIN ISLANDS
MEAL DISTRIBUTION TO STUDENTS STARTS THURSDAY FOR VI STUDENTS (stthomassource.com). The Virgin Islands department of education will distribute breakfast and lunch to school children beginning 26 March despite the closure of schools throughout the territory where there are 17 known cases.