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COVID-19 Situation in the Caribbean Region

The Dominican Republic continues to lead the Caribbean region with 109,269 accumulated cases and 2,064 deaths.  Puerto Rico follows with 42,596 cases and 613 deaths.  

Many of Puerto Rico’s cases are reported to be as a result of over 120 clusters of cases from birthday parties, family gatherings and other events. 

With new cases reducing in the Dominican Republic, the Lesser Antilles and CARICOM members like Guyana, Suriname and Belize are relatively seeing their share of increased cases.

Aruba, the Bahamas, Curacao, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are reporting relatively large single-day case numbers.  From late August to mid September, cases in the British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago increased by over 200% to 350%, respectively.   

Guadeloupe hits a new record reporting 1,095 weekly cases bringing their accumulated total to 4,487 today.  Cases in the BVI has now calmed down with only 2 new cases reported last week.

A couple days after Jamaica’s general election on 3 September, Jamaica’s Health Minister Tufton announced that transmission of cases in Jamaica is now untraceable.  

Aruba, Sint Maarten and Turks and Caicos lead the Caribbean with the most reported COVID-19 cases per capita.  It seems that all the Caribbean countries that opened borders saw case rise.   

Haiti and the United States Virgin Islands have relatively calmed down with the number of reported daily case counts with Haiti reporting a single-day as low as 4 cases this week. 

The small island of Bonaire has recently seen an increase in daily cases while the Cayman Islands reported its first case of community transmission yesterday. 

The greatest percent increase in deaths within the last four weeks has been in Aruba, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago.

With the continued fluctuation across the Caribbean region, the COVID-19 transmission classification has been changing for several islands.  Curacao and Saint Martin have been changed from sporadic cases to community transmission while Guadeloupe, Jamaica, and Martinique’s classifications changed from clusters of cases to community transmission.  

In Antigua and Barbuda, the transmission classification was lowered from clusters of cases to sporadic cases.  Grenada was also changed from clusters of cases to no new cases) since 6 September 2020.

Six Caribbean Islands; namely, Anguilla, Grenada, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have zero active COVID-19 cases as of today.  

Majority of the Caribbean countries are highly dependent on international trade, in particular, tourism.  These countries are not in a position to lock their borders forever as revenues continue to be drained by the pandemic.  Several islands find themselves bargaining with their Mother country or seeking loan alternatives. The islands of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten are just three  islands currently facing a financial challenge.  

As international trading partners in tourism, the islands must be cautious with their public health response measures.  This is vital to avoid a full blown outbreak which has already proven harder to bring under control and would be worst on economies. 

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