AT A GLANCE:
Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources, puts the total number of cases worldwide at more than 220,800, with at least 8,900 deaths.
China reports no new domestic cases: For the first time, the country where the coronavirus pandemic began has announced no new locally transmitted infections — a pivotal moment in the battle to contain Covid-19. All 34 new cases reported yesterday were imported from overseas.
UK ramps up measures: From Friday, schools across the UK will close until further notice. Northern Ireland’s schools will close starting Monday. Dozens of London Underground stations will close after the government advised to stop non-essential social contact. An additional 10,000 military personnel will be placed “at a higher readiness” to support public services as part of a new coronavirus support force.
Latest restrictions: Germany is extending its entry restrictions at six national borders to air and shipping traffic, the European Union has closed its external borders for 30 days, the UAE is banning incoming travelers and residency visa holders and Australia and New Zealand are both banning entry to foreign citizens and non-residents.
Situation in US: 80% of coronavirus-related deaths in the US occurred in adults aged 65 and older, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US has at least 8,898 cases and 149 deaths. The government is preparing for the pandemic to last up to 18 months.
Economy: The European Central Bank said it would spend $818 billion buying government debt and private securities to fight the coronavirus crash. South Korea is supplying 50 trillion won ($39.1 billion) in emergency funding to support small business.
New cases: South Korea confirmed 152 new coronavirus cases yesterday — a rise after a week of diminishing infection rates. Singapore confirmed 47 new coronavirus cases yesterday — its largest single-day increase in cases. Fiji confirmed the country’s first coronavirus case — bad news for Pacific Island nations, which are some of the most remote and aid-dependent in the world. Meanwhile, Russia and Mexico have reported their first coronavirus-related deaths.
Lockdown in Europe and Asia: Millions are under lockdown, with countries imposing restrictions on daily life and travel, and border closures.
More flights suspended: Sri Lanka has suspended all flights arriving into the country for two weeks, effective midnight today. Meanwhile, United Airlines is cutting even more domestic and international flights, following the US restrictions on travel from the UK and other European countries.
Restrictions widen: European leaders have decided to ban non-essential travel to the EU for 30 days. US-Canada border crossing limits are expected. Australia has declared a “human biosecurity emergency” giving the government the power to impose curfews and order people into quarantine if deemed necessary. For the first time, Australia has imposed a Level 4 travel warning — meaning “do not travel.”
US cases in all 50 states: Coronavirus is now reported to be in all 50 US states with at least 112 dying from the virus across the country. The number of cases stands at 6,135.
State of calamity: The Philippines as been placed under a state of calamity for six months, meaning a response fund will be available to the central and local governments and law enforcement agencies, including the Armed Forces, can be deployed to ensure order in affected areas.
More action needed: Countries in Southeast Asia must “urgently scale-up aggressive measures” and widespread testing to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further, said World Health Organization officials.
- The UK unveiled “unprecedented” financial measures to support the economy, including mortgage holidays for those in financial difficulty and loans to businesses
- The death toll in Britain rose to 71 and we were told the actual number of cases could be as high as 55,000
- The British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was temporarily released from prison in Tehran because of the outbreak
- The US said it was considering sending money directly to Americans as part of a $1tn (£830bn) stimulus package aimed at averting an economic crisis
- The European Union, meanwhile, announced it would ban travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days. The Euro 2020 football competition was also postponed by a year
- But Iran remains the world’s third-worst-affected nation with 16,000 confirmed cases
- The virus has now infected more than 185,000 people worldwide across 159 countries and territories
THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS PLACES MORATORIUM ON CRUISE SHIPS FOR NEXT 30 DAYS TO PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19
Territory Limits International Ports of Entry and Enacts Stringent Visitor Screenings
TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, March 16, 2020 – On March 14th, citing the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, the Government of the Virgin Islands announced the immediate closure of the Tortola cruise port, allowing no cruise ships to call on the territory for a 30 day period in an effort to protect the Territory from potential contamination. At present there are no confirmed cases in the islands.
Also, the number of international ports of entry into the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have been limited to facilitate the effective screening of passengers. The three ports that remain open are Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, Road Town and West End Ferry Terminals, and one cargo port of entry – Port Purcell.
The entry of passengers and crew members who have traveled to, from or through COVID- 19 affected countries as specified in a list of countries of special interest within a period of 14 days or less, will not be allowed.
Additionally, the entry of passengers and crew members who have traveled to, from or through COVID-19 affected countries classified as a high-risk country within a period of 14 days or less immediately preceding their arrival in the territory, will be subject to advanced screening procedures and may be quarantined for a period of up to 14 days based on the outcome of the risk assessment.
|Locally, any mass gatherings or festivals that were scheduled to take place in the BVI during the next month will be postponed until further notice. This includes the 2020 BVI Spring Regatta, scheduled for March 30 – April 5, and the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival scheduled for April 11-13.|
“After extensive consideration, the British Virgin Islands made the prudent decision to put stringent measures in place to temporarily enhance the protocols for entry into the Territory until April 13,” said Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, Premier, Minister of Finance & Minister responsible for Tourism.
“It is imperative that we prioritize our limited resources to safeguard our residents and our guests. Tourism is our mainstay and it is important that we take measures to ensure our long-term sustainability.”
Premier Fahie continued, “Our tourism industry has faced many crises before, from natural disasters to epidemics, and we have always come out strong on the other side.
After much anticipation, we are at the start of a big celebratory year as many of our beloved resort products are finally reopening following extensive rebuilding. We also expect this summer to be busy in the BVI with rerouting of cruises and airline service in and out of the Caribbean.”
|The public is reminded to take all necessary precautions against contracting the coronavirus. The risk can be reduced by implementing personal protective measures, such as frequent hand washing, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses.|
Trinidad and Tobago has 4 cases of Coronavirus
The Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health has announced that Trinidad and Tobago is now up to four cases of coronavirus COVID-19.
The following is a statement by the ministry.
The Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago, advises the population of two more confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Thus, in total, four persons have tested positive for COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago at
Additional information will be provided as the situation develops.
BAHAMAS MINISTRY OF TOURISM & AVIATION STATEMENT ON COVID-19
NASSAU, Bahamas, March 16, 2020 – The Bahamas Ministry of Health is working closely with all pertinent government agencies throughout the destination to execute the Bahamas National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19.
At this time, there is one confirmed case of coronavirus in Nassau, The Bahamas. The patient is in isolated quarantine following the guidelines outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Ministry of Health is currently conducting full contact analysis and more details will be shared as they become available.
The Ministry of Health is encouraging preventative measures and protocol to minimize the potential spread of the illness, and The Bahamas implemented new border control and quarantine measures for persons travelling from highly infected areas.
Given the growing public health concern and to protect the health and well-being of the population of The Bahamas, effective Thursday, March 19, expanded travel restrictions will be introduced. Foreign nationals and foreign individuals who have travelled within the last 20 days from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe will be prohibited entry into The Bahamas. This is in addition to restrictions already in place for China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. This restricted travel list of countries will be continuously monitored and updated as necessary.
The Bahamas is conducting COVID-19 testing and is actively employing several measures used globally to screen visitors and residents and to manage the response to individuals of concern, in line with international health best practices.
Traveller health questionnaires and a screening protocol are used at ports, hotels and rental properties to identify guests who may require surveillance or treatment. In addition, all Bahamian nationals and residents returning to The Bahamas through any point of entry from any of the restricted countries or an area where community infection and spread is present will be quarantined or be placed under self-isolation upon arrival and are expected to follow the protocols of the Ministry of Health.
A destination-wide education campaign is underway to remind the public of the basic hygiene practices that can be used to prevent the spread of the virus including frequent, proper hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, frequent disinfection of surfaces and avoiding close contact with those exhibiting signs of respiratory illness.
All COVID-19 inquiries should be directed to the Ministry of Health. For questions, or concerns, please call the COVID-19 hotline: 242-376-9350 (8am – 8pm EDT) / 242-376-9387 (8pm – 8am EDT).
COVID-19 FORCES POSTPONEMENT OF CTO’S 10TH TOURISM HUMAN RESOURCES CONFERENCE
~New date is 25-27 November 2020 in Nevis~
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Date) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) advises of the postponement of the 10th Tourism Resources Conference, which was scheduled to take place in May. The new date for the event, being organised in collaboration with the Nevis ministry of tourism, is 25-27 November 2020.
“In light of the constantly changing nature of the coronavirus crisis and in the wake of the decision by the World Health Organization to declare COVID-19 a pandemic, the CTO and the government of Nevis have decided that postponing the conference is the best course of action,” said Sharon Banfield, the CTO’s director of resource mobilisation and development.
The CTO will continue to diligently monitor the situation and pay close attention to guidance from regional public health officials.
For more information on what the CTO and member countries are doing to limit the spread of coronavirus in the region, visit www.onecaribbean.org. And for the regional health response, visit www.carpha.org.
SAINT LUCIA’S TOURISM SECTOR TAKES PROACTIVE APPROACH AMID CONCERNS OF THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF COVID-19
Castries, Saint Lucia (March 14, 2020) – The Ministry of Tourism and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) recognizing the challenging environment of the travel and tourism industry, convened with the Board of Directors of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) on Friday March 13, 2020, to discuss the global impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector.
Led by Tourism Minister – Honourable Dominic Fedee, The meeting focused on gaining first hand information on the overall status of the tourism industry over the next ninety days.
“This is part of our national strategy to make informed decisions to ensure the ultimate rebounding of the tourism industry. Considerations are already being undertaken for the recovery phase as we must ensure that Saint Lucia is positioned to regain its market share when the travel landscape changes.” Said Minister Fedee.
Approximately 50% of the accommodation sector and ancillary services were represented at Friday’s meeting.
President of the Saint Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association (SLHTA)-Karolin Troubetzkoy speaking on Friday’s meeting said; “The SLHTA is committed to collaborating closely with the SLTA and the Ministry of Tourism to safeguard the tourism industry and our economy but most importantly, safeguard the country and do what is best for our citizens and visitors alike in these difficult times.”
Similar dialog has t