firefighter disinfects

Sanitising: A firefighter disinfects a traditional shopping centre to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in northern Tehran, Iran, yesterday. A health ministry spokesman warned authorities could use unspecified “force” to halt travel between major cities. —Photo: AP

THE Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) has upgraded the risk of coronavirus disease (­COVID-19) transmission in the region from “low” to “moderate to high”.

The upgrade has come as another Caribbean island reported the first cases of the virus.

Two cases were confirmed posi­tive in Martinique on Thursday evening. This brings the total of positive coronavirus cases in French territories to ten.

There are five cases in French Guiana, two cases in St Martin and one in St Barts.

Carpha said it is working together with Caribbean leaders and health sectors to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 ­virus throughout the region, and is implementing readiness and ­response measures.

The agency, however, noted there has been no local spread of the virus in the Caribbean, as all were imported cases.

Most were said to have recently returned from France, which has reported close to 600 cases to date.

Carpha executive director Dr Joy St John urged health authorities to “shift their mindset from preparedness to readiness and rapid response”.

A COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force has been developed, comprising representatives from Carpha, the Caribbean ­Hotel and Tourism Association, the Carib­bean Tourism Organisation and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre.

The task force said it was concerned about the “high level of misunderstanding” about the virus which has caused panic and the spread of misinformation.

The task force said it will focus on raising awareness and sharing accurate information, strengthening monitoring at airports, seaports and hotels and accommodations; improving coordination among stakeholder organisations and ­locally between tourism and health officials, sharing best practices, training, education and ­capacity building, and conducting tourism impact research.

Meanwhile, T&T’s Ministry of Health has again reported this country remains free of the virus.

To date, 32 samples have been sent to Carpha for testing after people presented to various local hospitals with flu-like symptoms.

All the tests have been returned negative, the ministry advised.

Confirmed cases globally have now surpassed 101,000 with a ­reported 3,461 deaths as of yesterday evening. 


The current shutdown of non-essen­tial businesses and other restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 can “possibly” be exten­ded beyond April 15.

So said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday as he lamented that Trinidad and Tobago’s COVID-19 situation is expected to wor­sen in the coming weeks.

BARS, private members clubs, ­casinos, gaming and betting facilities and cinemas will remain closed until April 30.

This according to a new Regulation—The Public Health Novel Coronavirus No 7 Regulation, which was released yesterday and which extends the prohibition on certain activities from April 15 to April 30.

AT least four people born in Trinidad and Tobago have died from complications relating to coronavirus disease COVID-19 in New York, a US state now considered the global epicentre of the pandemic.

WALKING to the grocery, fast food outlet or work is fine, but sitting down in public just watching the world go by will result in a stern talking to by the police and they will not leave until you get up.

PEOPLE who have the COVID-19 coronavirus can die if they wait too long to seek help and their symptoms worsen, says Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram.