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COVID-19 in the Caribbean: Overview of the Situation, Outbreak

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Caribbean region as in all the regions of the world. | Photo: EFE Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Caribbean region as in all the regions of the world. | Photo: EFE
In the wake of the coronavirus global outbreak, the Caribbean Public Health Agency has raised the risk level in the region from "moderate to high" to "very high."

Governments in the region are focusing on precautionary measures such as mandatory quarantines and restrictions for travelers arriving from countries with important numbers of infected people, including China and the United States.

Here is an overview of the situation in a region that attracts tourists from all over the world:

Anguilla

Anguilla has closed sea and airports for 14 days starting March 20. The island imposed self-quarantine for travelers who have been outside the Caribbean Region within the 14 days prior to arrival. As of Monday, sixty people have been quarantined in Anguilla because of their recent travels from countries where the coronavirus is present.

This was revealed Sunday night by the island’s Governor Tim Foy and Premier Victor Banks as they noted that 56 of the people are in self-quarantine. A total of six people were tested for the virus.

Three of those tests were negative and officials are awaiting results of the remaining samples from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Laboratory in Trinidad.

Aruba

Aruba began last week to launch a series of aggressive measures to contain and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Dutch Caribbean island has among other measures restricted all non-residents from entering the country.

Aruba has so far nine confirmed cases with no deaths reported.

Antigua & Barbuda 

Antigua and Barbuda remains open for travelers. However, foreign nationals who have traveled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan, Korea, and Singapore the past 28 days, will be not be allowed to enter into the islands.

Numerous other preventive measures were put in place including educational campaigns at hotels.

So far, Antigua & Barbuda has three confirmed cases. 

Barbados

Barbados became Saturday the second Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to announce a significant increase in the number of people infected by the coronavirus, and called on citizens and residents not to panic but follow the guidelines given by health officials.

The island now has 14 positive cases of the virus and no deaths reported so far.

Dominica

After Dominica’s first positive case of COVID-19 was announced, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus and protecting the most vulnerable.

Skerrit said Sunday night that the greater risk of the COVID-19 virus is for the country’s senior citizens and for those citizens who have a chronic, underlying condition.

He said his government is adopting a four-stage approach to the management of the corona pandemic.

“With the revelation of the first imported case, we have moved from level one to level two. Against that background, I am making a decision to suspend all classes of school from tomorrow (Monday),” the PM announced.

“We shall be intensifying screening at our borders and I anticipate that in a day or two, we shall be announcing new measures and regulations with respect to the opening of our ports of entry……as of tomorrow, we shall beef up security and screening at our ports of entry and by midweek I shall have more two say on the issue of mandatory quarantine of persons entering our island.” 

Dominica has so far two confirmed cases with no deaths reported.

Grenada

Grenada has announced Sunday its first case of the coronavirus disease. Health Minister Nikolas Steele said the patient has been isolated to prevent the spread of the virus.  

Moves are already taking place to isolate and monitor "several individuals" who were in close contact with the patient, the official added. "This will continue for the next 14 days at a minimum."

With Grenada now at Stage 1 in its response to COVID-19, Steele told the nation that this imported case "brings us to a new phase, a phase of making sure that this deadly disease does not spread within our shores."

Guyana

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Guyana has reached 20 with one death as of Monday. ​​​​​​

The country's Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence warned last week (after the first cases were reported) that though the number of declared cases was still relatively law in Guyana, people still had to adhere to preventative measures.

“The threat is real. It is not discriminatory and we must all shoulder our responsibility resolutely and be resilient in our adherence to precautionary measures that have been established,” Lawrence had said.

Jamaica

The number of coronavirus positive cases in Jamaica has increased to 21 with one death reported as of Monday.

The Minister of Health Christopher Tufton said 14 of the cases have been imported. Six involve individuals who came in contact with people arriving from abroad while one case is still under investigation.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that all schools on the island will remain closed until April 20. 

Holness​​​​​​​ said all people who are 75 years and older must stay at home. Additionally, all public sector employees 65-years-old and older will work from home.

The PM also declared that every person who entered the island from March 18 will be quarantined for 14 days.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia has declared Monday a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. The declaration was signed by Governor-General Emmanuel Neville.

So far Saint Lucia has three cases of the highly contagious virus.

Trinidad and Tobago

The Islands' Ministry of Health has confirmed that Trinidad and Tobago has 50 new cases of COVID-19. All cases came from the 68 people who were repatriated from a cruise ship that was stranded in Guadeloupe.

The confirmed cases are being treated in health care facilities.

  • Countries: Caribbean

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