Security guards let a vehicle in to the compound at the Caura Hospital yesterday.

CASTRIES—St Lucia and Suriname yesterday announced “imported” cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), joining several other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have announced cases of the virus that was first detected in China last December.

Health authorities here said a 63-year-old woman, who arrived here from the United Kingdom on March 7, had presented herself to a hospital four days later and samples sent to the T&T-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the results, received yesterday, came back positive.

“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,” Health Minister 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 this 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 yesterday said the positive case is a person who travelled from the Netherlands to Suriname on Wednesday. He said the Surinamese airspace was to be closed at midnight and 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 today, until further notice.

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. Jamaica has so far reported the most cases at eight. (CMC)