PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – Four new deaths and 105 news cases were reported as Haiti became the first CARICOM country to register more than 1,000 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), health authorities reported Tuesday.

The Ministry of Public Health in its daily bulletin said that the pandemic is “accelerating throughout the national territory” and that the number of people infected in 24 hours “for the first time exceeds the bar of 100 cases to reach 105 new cases for a total of 1,063”.

As had been the case in previous reports, the Ministry of Health said that men continued to account for the majority of the cases with 60.3 per cent, while women were at 39.7 per cent.

The authorities said that the four deaths – three in the West and the other in Nippes – brought the total number of people who have died since the first COVID-19 case was recorded on March 19, to 31 and appealed to nationals to continue to follow the various guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

“The treatment of people infected with COVID-19 is provided free of charge by the Haitian state. The population must continue to follow the instructions of the health authorities. There can be no denial of the epidemic.

“We must change our behaviour today… if you have symptoms related to COVID-19, fever, dry cough, fatigue, contact a health care professional urgently,” said Eddy Jackson Alexis, Secretary of State for Communication

The Ministry of Public Health said the number of active cases is now 1,010 with 3,328 suspected cases while 294 people have been hospitalised and 104 people are quarantined at home.

But, these figures are dwarfed by Haiti’s neighbor the Dominican Republic with 460 deaths from 15,073 cases.

Earlier this month, the director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr. Carrissa Etienne expressed concern at the rate of infection in Haiti warning of an “impending humanitarian crisis”.

She also highlighted the limited capacity of the Haitian health system, saying “there are few beds for treating COVID-19, insufficient numbers of health professionals and insufficient personal protective equipment”.

The PAHO Director noted that most Haitians do not have access to clean water and sanitation, and “many live in overcrowded households where quarantine and isolation are challenging”.

In addition, “there is a real risk that growing good insecurity will result in famine. Civil unrest, a difficult political situation and precarious security may further complicate the situation,” she said.