(CMR) Several Caribbean countries, including Cuba and Jamaica, are experiencing their highest numbers of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started last year.
The situation is so severe in Jamaica that beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients have run out, with patients spilling into hospitals' corridors.
The Cornwall Regional Hospital, Falmouth Public General, Annotto Bay Hospital, Port Maria Hospital, Mandeville Regional Hospital, Kingston Public Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Spanish Town Hospital all reached their capacity last week.
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton said three field hospitals were being set up at Falmouth Public General Hospital in Trelawny, St Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston, and the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester to help address the shortage of space.
The number of total confirmed cases has almost doubled in the first two months of the year in Jamaica which now has over 23,000 cases of COVID-19.
According to Oxford University's Our World in Data, the number of COVID cases has risen around fourfold in Cuba, eightfold in Barbados, and around tenfold in St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
While some countries such as Barbados have started to vaccinate people, countries like Jamaica have not started yet as they are still without the vaccine.
Jamaica is expected to receive a donation of 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from India this week.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has also announced that the country should start receiving its 124,800 doses via the COVAX facility this month and 1.8 million via the African Medical Supply Platform in April.
The rollout of vaccines in the Caribbean and Latin America has been slow. There is concern that there will not be widespread vaccine access until 2022, the Congressional Research Service said.