Around the Caribbean… Around the Caribbean… Around the Caribbean – Jamaica Observer

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Cruise ship with COVID-19 patients docks in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba (AP) A British cruise ship rejected by Caribbean port officials for weeks docked in Cuba yesterday to unload more than 1,000 people who were on-board, including five with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Braemar arrived in the port of Mariel early in the morning. Passengers leaving the ship were being taken by medical workers in protective gear to Jos Mart International Airport, about 40 miles (65 kilometres) east of the capital, Havana.

Most of the 682 passengers were expected to arrive in London this morning on planes chartered by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Passengers with the coronavirus or flu-like symptoms were being flown to a British military base on a separate plane.

Meanwhile, Cuba announced its first death from the coronavirus, a 61-year-old Italian tourist who was one of 10 confirmed cases on the island.

The Braemar has been sailing the Caribbean since late February and was turned away by the Dominican Republic, Barbados and The Bahamas. Cuba said it is allowing the passengers to transit as an act of humanitarian solidarity.

Our country has the resources and means necessary to carry out a successful operation, Health Ministry spokesman Jos Ral de Armas told reporters yesterday.

St Lucia PM tests negative for COVID-19

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has tested negative for COVID-19 after he had been experiencing a mild cough following a recent travel history to Miami for medical attention, the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

It said that in an abundance of caution Chastanet had opted to place himself in voluntary quarantine and that a sample was taken for testing by the relevant authorities.

The sample was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency. The result was received late on the same day, March 17, 2020, and it is negative for COVID-19. The honourable prime minister has been informed of his results. He is in stable condition and good spirits, the statement said.

The Ministry of Health said that prior to receiving the results, it had commenced the routine process of contact tracing and that some of the close prime minister's contacts also voluntarily placed themselves into quarantine as a precaution, while we awaited the results.

Montserrat registers first case of COVID-19

BRADES, Montserrat (CMC) Montserrat became the latest Caricom country to register a case of the novel coronavirus disease after a person visiting from the United Kingdom tested positive for the virus that has killed more than 6,000 people worldwide.

Health and Social Services Minister Charles T Kirnon, said that confirmation had been received Tuesday from the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The sample was sent from the suspected case identified on Friday, March 13th. The patient is someone who is visiting from the UK and who travelled on the March 10, 2020 British Airways flight (BA 2157) from London to Antigua, which was transporting a passenger whom the Antiguan authorities identified as being positive for COVID-19.

Kirnon said that on learning from the Antiguan authorities that a passenger on that flight had fallen ill with COVID-19, the authorities here activated its outbreak investigation protocol to locate, assess, and quarantine all passengers who travelled to Montserrat, through Antigua on the same British Airways flight.

The patient has been in isolation since March 13 and will remain in isolation, while being treated and monitored until the disease is no longer detected, the health and social services minister said, noting that a total of three samples were sent to CARPHA for testing.

One tested positive for COVID-19 and two came back negative.

Antigua PM wants bi-partisan approach to COVID-19

ST JOHN'S, Antigua, Mar 18, CMC Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called for a bi-partisan approach to the fight against the novel coronavirus and reiterated an earlier statement that his Administration has no intention of shutting down its borders.

Browne, speaking in Parliament, said he wanted all stakeholders to come together in optimistic solidarity to work together as a nation of one people with a common destiny to fight this threat.

Antigua and Barbuda is among several Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries that have registered cases of the virus that has been imported into the region since all of the cases have been brought in by travellers mainly from Europe and the United States.

Browne told legislators that the best defence the court could have against the virus, which has killed more than 6,000 people worldwide, is to establish a united front, since more people will get infected here.

Hoteliers in Dominica feel impact of coronavirus

ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) says its members have lost an estimated EC$1 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) over the past few days as guests cancel their reservations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DHTA President Marvlyn James, speaking on the State-owned DBS radio, said that at least 76 per cent of her members who had been surveyed had reported cancellations estimated at one million dollars.

We expect to see a further decline in the coming weeks as you have seen in the news, countries have closed their borders. So, for example, Europe and their restricting travel of their citizens, the United Kingdom, the United States, and most recently the French West Indies, which contribute between 20 to 25 per cent of arrivals into Dominica, she said.

We are seeing it, we are feeling it, and we expect it to get worse, James said, warning of the possibilities of lay-offs and closure of some establishments.

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Around the Caribbean... Around the Caribbean... Around the Caribbean - Jamaica Observer

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