Haiti Government Stops Commercial Flights and Imposes Curfew Under State of Emergency As First COVID-19 Cases Recorded

President Jovenel Moise

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Friday March 20, 2020 – As Haiti recorded its first two cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) yesterday the government declared a state of emergency, closing the country’s airports to commercial flights and imposing a nine-hour curfew.

Announcing the state of emergency late yesterday, President Jovenel Moïse said ports, airports and borders would be closed to people but would remain open to accept goods.

In an effort to prevent COVID-19 from reaching Haiti, the government had previously suspended flights from Europe, Latin America and Canada and imposed restrictions on the border with neighbouring Dominican Republic where there have been 21 cases recorded so far.

With the virus now confirmed here, several measures have been implemented in addition to the month-long suspension of commercial flights.

Moïse said schools, universities, places of worship and industrial parks would also be closed, and an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will take effect from tonight.

No details of the gender, age, nationality or travel history of the two people who tested positive for COVID-19 have been provided.

Education Minister Pierre Josue Agenor Cadet would only say on local radio that the two had been abroad and were placed under quarantine after being suspected of having the virus.

COVID-19 has been detected throughout the Caribbean. There are cases in Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Barthelemy, St Lucia, Saint Martin, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

Five deaths have been attributed to the virus – one each in Jamaica, Guyana, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands.

As of yesterday, the World Health Organization said there were 209,839 COVID-19 cases confirmed in 169 countries, areas or territories, and 8,778 deaths.

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