BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Caribbean countries were on Friday reporting increased cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) while reiterating the need for their nationals to follow the various measures and protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus that has killed thousands and infected a significant higher number in the Caribbean.
In Barbados, a 25-year-old female, who came in on an American Airlines flight on November 30; and a 56-year-old male visitor, who arrived via Jet Blue on December 1, have tested positive. Both were asymptomatic.
They were the only positive cases identified among the 406 tests conducted by the Best-dos Santos Laboratory over the past 24 hours. The latest cases have moved the number of confirmed cases to 281 – 145 females and 136 males.
The island has recorded 257 recoveries with 17 others in isolation.
Suriname has banned flights from Haiti and Cuba due to “urgent evaluation of passengers from these countries” and the Health Minister, Amar Ramadhin, told a news conference that the measure will apply for the rest of the month.
“We look at the code in which those countries fall. In that case, specific conditions apply to travel,” he added.
The authorities said that the connection with the Netherlands and Miami (via Georgetown, Guyana) continues normally.
The health minister said that the COVID-19 situation in Suriname is “well under control” and there is currently a positivity rate of between one and four per cent of people tested.
Suriname is classified as a country with “sporadic or cluster cases” according to the international health regulations of the World Health Organization.
Ramdhin said partly because of the “favourable” outcome of the code, the government decided to “partially open up airspace with strict conditions”.
Meanwhile, the health authorities reported that two new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 5,322, of which 15 are considered active cases. The death toll remained at 117, there are six people in hospitals, two in the intensive care unit, seven positive in isolation and 1,432 non-positives in quarantine. In the past 24 hours, three civilians have been declared cured, bringing the total to 5,203.
In Belize, where the authorities have implemented a new reporting mechanism, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said that the daily infographic has been modified and will include the antigen rapid testing results for COVID-19.
“Due to this increased testing, the total number of COVID-19 cases has also increased. This daily report will also include the new cases, the total number of cases countrywide, as well as a heat map providing the geographic areas and communities mostly affected.”
It said that the use of this antigen testing kit will only be recommended for persons who are symptomatic and close contacts of a confirmed case.
Belize has now 7,236 confirmed cases with 3,501 being active. It recorded 241 new cases over the past 24 hours and the death toll is 164.
St Lucia recorded no new cases of the virus on Thursday but the health authorities said that it was urging members of the public, especially during this holiday season, to continue to properly wear a face mask in public, maintain consistent physical distancing, and wash and sanitise hands often.
It said also that 16,376 test have been conducted so far this year.
“We are now into the start of the Christmas season, a period which traditionally St Lucians look forward to every year. It is usually marked by much social and commercial activities, as well as festive celebrations with family and loved ones. Though we are challenged in many ways by the current threat of COVID-19, we acknowledge the cultural value this time of year has for many.
“The Ministry of Health wishes that everyone gives themselves and others the gift of health and safety this year. We encourage everyone to prioritise their health and take actions which promote well-being,” it added.
Trinidad and Tobago is reporting 21 new positive cases bringing the total to 6,725 of which 673 are active cases.
The Ministry of Health said the death toll remained at 121 and 43 persons remain in hospitals.