(CMR) Since making its appearance in the Caribbean more than a month ago, on March 1, the coronavirus has infected close to 700 people in the English speaking Caribbean.
Inclusive of the rest of the Caribbean, there are well over 5,000 confirmed cases; the Dominican Republic, the country in which the virus first appeared in the region, alone accounts for 3,000 confirmed cases.
Regional public health agency, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in its latest Situation Report said that the region’s risk for further importation of the virus remains very high. The regional body confirmed a 23 percent increase in the number of cases in the region over a two day period.
The body further encouraged countries in the region to consider an opinion piece authored by the World Health’s Organization’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and The International Monetary Fund’s Kristalina Georgieva which encouraged developing economies not to prioritize the economy over health.
As the pandemic continues to grip the region, CMR is providing a snapshot of the countries in the English speaking Caribbean with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and steps they are taking to combat the deadly virus.
There are, to date, 3 cases of COVID-19 in Anguilla.
The country which has close to 16,000 residents reported its first two confirmed cases of the coronavirus on March 26.
The country has taken measures such as shutting down non-essential business operations, with most persons required to stay at home, in addition to the full closure of bars and schools and a prohibition on public gatherings.
Antigua and Barbuda
There are, to date, 23 cases of the coronavirus in Antigua and Barbuda.
Two females were the latest confirmed cases, who were said to have had no symptoms and no travel history. The country which has a population of over 100,000 people has tested 61 persons. The twin-island recorded its first COVID-19 related death on April 7, 2020.
Antigua and Barbuda declared a State of Emergency on March 28 and implemented a soft curfew to deal with the spread of the virus, which included restrictions on daytime travel.
There are to date 58 cases of COVID-19 in the Bahamas, officials there say 805 persons have been tested.
Of the latest confirmed cases, one is said to be a 64-year-old man who recently returned to the island and a 27-year-old woman, who was in contact with two known cases. One case is under investigation. The island has not yet reported any community spread.
The Bahamas declared a state of emergency on March 17 and then swiftly implemented a lockdown of the country, with exemptions made for essential workers. The lockdown measures were further extended on April 6 with government implementing a food shopping schedule and guidelines on exercising.
There are to date 71 cases of the coronavirus in Barbados.
According to officials in the island 805 tests have been performed in total.
To manage the virus, Barbados on April 2 announced a 24-hour curfew which came into effect on April 3. The curfew which initially restricted supermarkets from opening was slightly relaxed when supermarkets were reopened on April 8 with a new rostered system, which takes customers on the basis of surnames.
There are to date 57 cases of the coronavirus in Bermuda.
The island which has a population of approximately 60,000 residents has recorded 4 deaths from COVID-19.
The island’s health minister, Kim Wilson has said the high mortality rate in Bermuda was linked to poor health in Bermuda. While the Island’s Premier David Burt, who highlighted the high percentage of elderly people on the island warned that more than 700 Bermudians could die from the virus if people did not follow shelter-in-place rules enforced by the government.
The Bermudian government has implemented a soft curfew which allows residents to leave their homes to get essentials such as groceries and medicine between 7am and 7 pm.However, police on the island have been reporting difficulty enforcing the measures.
British Virgin Islands
There are, to date, 3 cases of the coronavirus in the British Virgin Islands.
Since April 7, the island, which has tested 64 persons, has recorded no new cases of COVID-19.
Governor, Augustus Jaspert on April 1 announced soft curfew measures which are expected to last until April 16. The curfew which runs from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily makes it mandatory for residents to remain in their homes during this period.
There are, to date, 53 cases of the coronavirus in the Cayman Islands.
Of the latest test results, six cases were not linked to persons with a travel history or previous positive cases; it is a finding that the island’s Premier Alden McLaughlin has described as worrying as it raises the specter of community spread.
The Cayman Islands Government on March 23 imposed a soft curfew among other social distancing measures. The country also implemented a 24-hour- curfew on March 25 which saw all businesses including supermarkets close.
The Health Minister, Dwayne Seymour, has noted that though this type of stringent measure was only implemented once, it may have to be implemented again if persons continue to flout the soft curfew measures.
There are to date, 16, cases of the coronavirus in Dominica.
Dominica recorded its last positive test result on April 9, since then there have been no new cases.
According to the Minister for Health, Dr. Irving McIntyre, 309 tests have been conducted thus far.
Dominica declared a state of emergency on April 1 which it extended for three months until June 30.
The country has further extended its curfew orders until May 11 and has implemented a special lockdown over the Easter holidays, which means that even some essential services will be unavailable to residents.
There are to date, 14, cases of the coronavirus in Grenada.
Prior to April 9, the country had no local testing capabilities. Since being able to conduct its own tests, Minister for Health Nickolas Steele said that the country had conducted 47 tests, which was more than was done in the past.
Grenada has implemented both hard and soft curfews to keep its citizens safe and has been at odds with neighbouring island, St Vincent and the Grenadines, over statements the country’s leader made which were perceived as encouraging Grenadians to flout the soft curfew measures.
Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. Keith Mitchell, slammed Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines for encouraging residents to break soft curfew measures.
To date, there are 45 cases of the coronavirus in Guyana.
Guyana began testing for COVID-19 on February 26 and recorded its first confirmed case on March 11.
The southern Caribbean nation has recorded 6 deaths linked to COVID-19.
On April 3, the Guyanese government announced a one-month countrywide lockdown with a 6 pm to 6 am curfew and a restriction on services except for those deemed essential.
The government has also stepped up its efforts to increase testing, recently announcing that it had granted permission to private health facilities to conduct testing for COVID-19 and to treat confirmed cases.
Presently, Guyana has a total of 1,800 COVID-19 testing kits, which were donated by the PAHO/WHO.
There are to date, 71, cases of the coronavirus in Jamaica.
According to the country’s health officials over 1,000 tests have been performed and the country confirmed 4 deaths related to the virus.
On March 30, The Jamaican Prime Minister imposed a nightly curfew which was extended until April 22. The Island has experienced a decline in murders due to the measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19
There are, to date, 11, cases of the coronavirus in Montserrat.
On March 27 Montserrat announced a 10-hour curfew, which saw essential service providers required to close by 6:00 pm; in addition to other measures such as a cap on public gatherings of no more than four people and funerals up to 15 people.
Beginning on April 13, the country has taken a step further in the direction of more stringent measures imposing a complete 7-day shutdown, which means that even supermarkets, bakeries, money transfer services and banks will be closed until April 20.
Only medical services, pharmacies and morticians (undertakers) will be allowed to operate during this 7-day complete shutdown.
St Kitts and Nevis
There are to date, 12, confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the twin-island federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
The island has recorded no deaths linked to COVID-19.
The country declared an extended State of Emergency and has restricted travel on all citizens only allowing those with a special exemption as either an essential worker or with a pass or permission from the country’s Commissioner of Police. St Kitts and Nevis went a step further and imposed a nationwide 24-hour curfew which is expected to last until April 16.
To date there 15 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in St Lucia.
The island nation which has a population of close to 180,000 residents has not recorded any deaths linked to COVID-19.
St Lucia has declared a state of national emergency on March 23 and had imposed for a short period of time a 24-hour curfew but later moved to a 10-hour curfew- from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. — which is expected to continue until April 14.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on April 12 announced that the government was currently putting in place new details that would reopen all commercial activity in St Lucia. Chastanet further noted that hardware stores and home suppliers would be able to operate in short order.
To date there are 9 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The island recorded its first and only COVID-19 death on April 4.
TCI has implemented a strict 21-day curfew for everyone except essential workers as a means of controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
The TCI government has been harshly criticized for allowing commercial fishing activities to continue during the period and for not waiving taxes. Taxes such as the vehicle hire stamp duty, insurance premium sales tax and domestic financial services sales tax, became due during the partial lockdown period and, according to the TCI government residents are still required to pay, as they don't fall under the government’s stimulus package.
Trinidad and Tobago
To date, Trinidad and Tobago has 113 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
The country has tested close to 1,200 persons for the deadly virus.
Trinidad and Tobago on March 26 implemented a temporary lockdown, though Prime Minister Keith Rowley stressed the measure was not a state of emergency. The temporary lockdown which saw the closure of non-essential business activities and operations remains in effect until April 15.