Haiti President Jovenel Moise has announced Haiti's first two cases of novel coronavirus as his government adopted extraordinary measures to curb its spread. The President expressed his sadness over the confirmed cases in their territory while addressing the media on Thursday.
Haiti is the Caribbean's most densely populated country and the virus' arrival spurred the government to implement a series of restrictive measures, including an 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew and ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. Many schools, universities and vocational schools are reportedly set to go for lockdown on Friday until further notice and President Moise ordered factories to suspend work.
Apart from this, he ordered borders shut down, with the suspension of all commercial flights from Friday, along with closing all passenger points of entry. Moise also warned against selling medicines and hygiene and health products on the black market.
The president asked people to remain calm and said that his government has always been committed to transparency when it comes to managing this pandemic. Lockdowns such as those in Italy and France could be difficult to replicate in Haiti, especially in the capital of Port-au-Prince. The vast majority of the city's nearly three million inhabitants depend on informal work to survive.
The unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus which originated in China in December 2019 has now claimed over 10,046 lives worldwide as of March 20. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 180 countries and has infected at least 245,749 people. Out of the total infections, 88,441 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries, and the economy is struggling. However, the World Health Organisation has said that the best way to combat the coronavirus outbreak for all countries is to ramp up their testing programs.