Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana and Suriname recorded a total of seven deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) over the weekend as health authorities in those countries have renewed calls for their populations to take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
In Jamaica, the Ministry of Health said that the two persons who died from the virus in Jamaica were a 64-year-old man from Clarendon and a 73-year-old woman from St Thomas.
The number of deaths is now 12 and that 11 new positive cases were recorded on Sunday, bringing the total so far to 894.
The new cases include seven females and four males, ranging from ages 13 to 73 years. Two of them were classified as imported, with the affected persons having arrived recently on flights from the United States and the Dominican Republic.
Haiti, which has one of the highest number of cases within CARICOM, registered 44 new cases within the past 24 hours as well as four deaths, according to figures released by the Ministry of Public Health.
The total number of positive cases in the country has risen to 7,468 since the first case was detected on March 19. The ministry said that the four new deaths, including three in the West Department and the other in the North Department, brought the death toll to 165.
Haiti has 2, 697 active cases while 4, 606 persons have been healed of the virus.
In Guyana, the Ministry of Public Health is reporting that the number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 44 bringing to 474, the number of persons who have tested positive for the virus.
The Ministry has also reported that another person has succumbed to the virus taking the total number of deaths to 21.
It said that to date, 185 persons have recuperated from COVID-related illnesses and that there are 268 active cases in institutional isolation at various facilities across Guyana.
“In total 4,893 persons have been tested for the virus with 4,419 yielding negative results,” the Ministry said.
Suriname also reported its 27th death on Sunday, adding that of the 166 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, 89 returned positive, with most of the cases occurring in the capital, Paramaribo.
Suriname now has 1,849 infected cases since the first one was detected on March 13 with 100 persons hospitalised with 15 at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“In the last 24 hours, 33 civilians were declared cured, which brought the total to, 1,194. The number of positive cases in isolation is 613, (while) in quarantine there are 343 people,” the authorities noted.
Other countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and The Bahamas also recorded an increase in cases over the weekend.
In all the Caribbean countries, the health officials have been urging people to continue practising social distancing in the workplace, public spaces, and while using public transportation to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease. But perhaps the greatest threat to public health remains international visitors that have been bringing the virus to the islands.
Bahamas was one such country that had to shut its borders to the United States after seeing a spike in cases. The island’s tourism ministry also announced that no one is permitted to stay in any hotel without a COVId-19 test.
Other countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Cayman Islands and Dominica have not yet reopened their borders to international travel. While in Barbados, they have had to tighten their restrictions: announcing that persons from high-risk countries (including USA) will be quarantined on arrival for 14 days – with option of 2nd PCR test (between 5-7 days).
With more and more Floridians travelling to Jamaica, locals have also called on the Jamaican health ministry to impose additional restrictions on travel, instead of leaving the fate of public health in the hands of those that do not live there.