St Lucia, Suriname record first infections
CASTRIES – St Lucia and Suriname Friday announced “imported” cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) joining several other Caribbean Community (ARICOM) countries that have announced cases of the virus that was first detected in China last December.
Health authorities here said that a 63-year-old woman, who arrived here from the United Kingdom on March 7, had presented herself to the hospital four days later and samples sent to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
They said the results of the tests were received Friday.
“The person of interest, we do not believe we should be giving out people’s names or the names of hotels or businesses or anything like that,” Minister of Health Mary Isaac told a news conference.
She said to do so would only create more of a panic “towards that particular institution and there is no need for that”.
“It is an imported case,” Isaac said, adding that cabinet will be meeting over the weekend and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet will most likely address the nation on Monday.
“Yesterday we were in one position, today we are in a different type of situation. So as the thing unfolds then our decision also keeps changing,” she said in response to a question as to whether the government was contemplating shutting down schools and banning public gatherings.
In Suriname, Vice President Ashwin Adhin Friday said the positive case is a person who travelled from the Netherlands to Suriname on Wednesday. He said Suriname has since announced the closure of its airspace from midnight.
All ports of entries will also be closed.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure in Guyana has announced that the Canawaima Ferry Services on the Corentyne will be suspended from Saturday, until further notice.
“The Management of the Guyana /Suriname Ferry Service sincerely apologised for any inconvenience caused at this time,” the Ministry said.
Several Caribbean countries, namely Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago have all reported cases of the virus this week. In the case of Guyana, the 52-year-old woman died at the hospital, less than a week after arriving there from the United States.