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Around the Caribbean...Around the Caribbean...Around the Caribbean

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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St Lucia declares state of emergency as COVID-19 cases increase to three

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — Governor General Sir Neville Cenac yesterday declared a state of emergency in St Lucia saying that he is “satisfied that a public emergency has arisen” as a result of COVID-19.


The House of Representatives will meet today and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is expected to outline the measures his Administration will be taking to deal with the virus that has so far been blamed for more than 14,000 deaths worldwide.


The Government had earlier announced the closure of the island's two airports “to all incoming commercial and private flights, effective 11:59 pm on Monday”.


The announcement by Sir Neville comes as Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar-George announced yesterday the island's third case of the virus.
“Our third case is a 43-year-old female with a travel history to the US,” she said, adding that the patient had returned here experiencing flu-like symptoms.


She told reporters that the patient, who entered the system on March 12, 2020, was tested and treated and that the results of the tests were received Sunday.


“She is presently in isolation. Our teams are working closely with her possible contacts on the ground presently.”


TCI records first case of COVID-19
GRAND TURK, Turks and Caicos Islands (CMC) — Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson yesterday confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the British Overseas Territory and appealed to nationals not to panic.


“I am asking that we remain calm, follow health advice, and help us to manage this experience in the best way we can — and this can only truly be achieved if each and every one of us plays our critical role,” she said.


Health officials said the unidentified patient had no recent travel history but offered no other details. Premier Cartwright-Robinson said that Cabinet is to meet today to deliberate on next steps.

Haitian authorities crack down on illegal activities linked to COVID-19
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Haitian authorities say traders face a fine of half a million Gourdes (One Gourde=US$0.01 cents) and a five-year jail term, after police detained at least three of them for engaging in “black market” activities as a result of the coronavirus.


The Ministry of Commerce said despite warning all traders that they are strictly forbidden to take advantage of the situation, many have engaged in the illegal activity of increasing the prices of their goods.


The ministry said that the practice has serious consequences for the poorest families, who find themselves deprived of the products essential to their subsistence “due to the unjustified and abusive rise in the price of basic necessities”.


The acting director general of the Haitian National Police, Rameau Normil said that several people had been detained after the police deployed surveillance officers in all areas to deal with the black market activities.

St Vincent warns against ADministering drugs used to treat lupus and malaria


KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — Health authorities are warning nationals against using antimalarial drugs, Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine, to treat or prevent COVID-19, even though United States President Donald Trump has been backing the drugs to deal with the virus for which there is no known cure.


Trump has made clear that he thinks two drugs should be deployed quickly against the virus that surfaced in China last December and is blamed for more than 14,000 deaths so far.


But his own medical officials, including the heads of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have been hesitant to endorse the drugs.


In a statement, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said the “named drugs have been widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, along with its related complaints of hair loss and joint pain.


“Although both Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine have been proposed by some researchers as being possible treatments against COVID-19, this has not yet been confirmed by health and regulatory authorities,” the ministry said.

Antigua Gov't seeking medical supplies, health professionals from Cuba
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — The Antigua and Barbuda Government says it has made a request to Cuba for supplies of the Interferon 2B drug that boosts the immune system, allowing patients who are very sick a chance to recover.


“The Cuban drug is in great demand at this time, as are others that are being tested on patients. Only one confirmed case of coronavirus has been detected in Antigua, and that 21-year-old patient is recovering. However, should an elderly Antiguan or Barbudan fall ill with the virus, the Cabinet is determined that all will be done to save that life. No death from coronavirus has occurred in Antigua and Barbuda,” a statement issued following the special Cabinet meeting on Sunday read.


It said that the Cuban doctors and nurses, who will arrive here on Thursday, are experienced in the management of infectious diseases.


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