While Governments across the world struggle to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the disease has begun to paralyse citizens’ everyday life.
Caribbean countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe have already recorded double-digit jumps in the numbers of confirmed cases prompting drastic action from governments to prevent further spread.
Countries across Central America and Caribbean countries including Trinidad and Tobago have disconnected from the rest of the world by closing their borders and airports. Others such as Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe and Anguilla have shut their doors to visitors indefinitely.
Jamaica, Guyana and the Bahamas opted to postpone their carnivals.
In Venezuela, a “permanent state of emergency” has been declared by leader Nicolas Maduro while in neighbouring Colombia, a health emergency was triggered.
Like T&T, the decision has also been taken by governments to close schools. The most recent country to take this action is Dominica after recording its first COVID-19 case over the weekend. The 2020 General Certificate Secondary Education, and Advanced level exams in the United Kingdom have also been cancelled.
Outside of the Caribbean region, countries have put additional measures in place to enforce social-distancing. Malls across Thailand and the United Arab Emirates will remain closed. The United States is also trying to catch up as the novel coronavirus rages out of control with more than 30 thousand cases being reported. States such as Michigan, Ohio and Louisiana have announced stay-at-home orders and the Maryland and Massachusetts governors have ordered non-essential businesses to close. Delaware has restricted the public’s access to beaches. Authorities in Spain announced their intention to extend its nationwide lock-down and the British Government advises people with serious health problems to self-quarantine for the next 12 weeks.
Commenting on the T&T’s response to COVID-19, Independent Senator, Dr Varma Deyalsingh, said he is pleased with the initiatives put in place thus far by the Chief Medical Officer, the Minister of Health and by extension the Government.
He said while the Government and other officials have been doing their part to ensure this country does not fall to its knees because of the novel coronavirus, citizens continue to disregard the only thing that will ensure the curve is flattened- social distancing.
Reporter: Bavita Gopaulchan