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Around the Caribbean...

Monday, April 06, 2020

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Barbados records first COVID-19 related death

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Just over two weeks since Barbados confirmed its first COVID-19 case, the Government has revealed that one person has died as a result of the virus.

Minister of Health Colonel Jeffery Bostic made the disclosure during a national briefing yesterday.

Bostic said the deceased is an 81-year-old Barbadian male who travelled to the United Kingdom and returned to the island on March 22.

Both the deceased and his wife were tested on April 4 after reportedly exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

The deceased was a diabetic and his condition “deteriorated rapidly” after being admitted for care.

His cause of death was as a result of COVID-19-related pneumonia.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best gave an update on the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Barbados which now stands at 56.

To date, six people have recovered from COVID-19.

LIAT suspends passenger flights for 14 days

ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — Regional carrier LIAT has suspended all passenger flights for two weeks in the wake of COVID-19.

In a statement issued Friday, the regional airline announced that during the stipulated period, only charters and cargo flights will be operated.

The suspension of passenger travel took effect on Saturday and will remain in effect for 14 days in the first instance.

LIAT CEO Julie Reifer-Jones said the travel bans and border closures around the globe have effectively halted regional travel, making it impossible to maintain even a limited schedule.

Passengers booked during the suspension period will have their bookings cancelled and will receive full credit, and will be able to rebook as soon as services resume.

Grenada informs WHO about COVID-19 patient who fled the island

ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) — Grenada's Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Francis Martin says the Government has formally written to the International Health Regulations of the World Health Organization (WHO) to inform them about a man who was confirmed positive for COVID-19, who then fled the island.

“With regards to the person that fled, there is a process that countries go through and a formal report is sent to the international health regulations to handle through their channels,” Martin said in response to inquiries concerning the man who arrived here on March 16 and was tested on March 26, but left the island and returned to the UK via Canada before receiving his result.

Health Minister Nicholas Steele has described the action of the 58-year-old as “troubling and reckless”.

According to Steele, when the Ministry of Health tried contacting the individual who was told to quarantine himself, he was not located and will continue to be listed as among Grenada's COVID-19 confirmations.

“The results came back on Saturday, March 28. As per procedure, health officials tried to reach him minutes later to inform that he had tested positive for COVID-19. As minister, I went ahead and announced the cases to the nation, as we have been doing. The individual was neither found on Saturday nor Sunday. On Sunday, health officials reported the matter to the police. It was later confirmed that the individual and his family left the island aboard Air Canada before he got his results on Saturday,” Steele said in a recent update.

Bermuda's COVID-19 cases rise to 37 as lockdown starts

HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) — Health officials on Saturday announced two more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing Bermuda's total to 37, as the island began a 14-day lockdown designed to stem the new coronavirus that has already claimed the lives of more than 66,000 people around the world.

Both new patients are in hospital, along with four earlier ones. All six are said to be in stable condition.

The news came after 25 test results came back, 23 of which were clear. More test kits are on their way from London.

A Government spokeswoman said: “Out of the 37 total cases, 14 people have recovered. There are 17 active cases under active public health monitoring.”

She added the two new cases were under investigation to establish how they caught the disease.

Haiti warns of dangers posed by expansion of coronavirus

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The Organization of American States (OAS) says Haiti has assumed the chair of its Permanent Council, warning of the dangers posed by the expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Haiti's Permanent Representative Leon Charles, who will chair the council for the April-June period, has called on governments in the hemisphere to face with open minds the challenges that the pandemic brings.

“In these difficult times, when COVID-19 represents an evermore serious threat for regional and global stability, the leaders of the region must show creativity and innovative spirit to contribute to the strengthening of health infrastructure,” he said in assuming the chairmanship.

Outgoing chair of the council and permanent representative of Guyana, Riyad Insanally recalled the challenges that the organisation faced during his term.

“It was an honour and a privilege for Guyana to preside over the OAS Permanent Council during a particularly difficult period for our organisation and our hemisphere,” Insanally said. “I wish all the best to the incoming chair.”

The Permanent Representative of Belize Daniel Gutierrez will serve as vice-chair of the council.

The World Bank's board of executive directors last Thursday approved a US$20-million grant for the Haiti COVID-19 Response Project.

The Washington-based financial institution said that this project aims to respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic through testing and improved treatment in Haiti.

“The rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic requires urgent action to prevent outbreak and save lives in Haiti,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank country director for Haiti.


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