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UPDATE WITH VIDEO: Gov’t sends cash to assist Dominican students in Wuhan City amid deadly virus scare

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Health Minister Dr. Irving McIntyre has announced amid assurances that the government of Dominica has sent funds to students studying in Wuhan city China – ground zero for the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

“All Dominican nationals in the People’s Republic of China are safe to-date,” he said. “There is no need to panic.”Dr. McIntyre told the media during a press conference Wednesday.

The announcement comes on the heels of the continuous spread of the deadly Coronavirus in Wuhan and the awareness that there are Dominica students studying there.

Currently there are actually 84 students studying in China, 15 in Wuhan City and 3 out of China on vacation.

But Dr. McIntyre said the Government of the People’s Republic of China has given every assurance that this pandemic will be brought under control within a few weeks.

The health minister stated that his ministry has been in touch with Dominican nationals especially those in the Coronavirus infected Providence of Wuhan.

And, each student presently in Wuhan was sent additional funds to assist.

“It’s just a precaution, to assist in the purchase of water and other essentials,” he stated.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Dr. McIntyre said “everyone has been advised to wear face masks. As a result, there has been a shortage of face masks.”

Dr. McIntyre indicated that it is not advisable for any of the students to leave Wuhan City at this time.

“Because there is a 14-day incubation period [before] a person can display the symptoms, it is not advisable for anyone to leave Wuhan City at the moment,” he said.

If students were to attempt to leave China, Dr. McIntyre explained that there must be a receiving country, the USA, France, Germany, London, Holland where they would have to be quarantined.

There must be a special charter with the nationals departing China under international travel guidelines for prevention and control.

Also, assuming there are nationals who may test positive, that receiving country must have the infrastructure in place to deal with the cure or treatment of the virus, he explained further.

Meantime McIntyre said Dominican students in Wuhan are in good spirits and they fully understand the risks involved in leaving.

“They have been extremely vigilant. In cases of emergency there are hotline numbers available to the students,” he said.

Dr. McIntyre said the Embassies of Dominica and Grenada will collaborate and coordinate efforts in getting essential supplies to Dominican nationals in China.

Full Video of Mcintyre’s address below:

 





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Dominica

Total number of COVID-19 cases in Antigua increases to 15

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Antigua and Barbuda reported six more cases of the Coronavirus on Friday.

Writing on his personal Facebook page, Prime Minister there-Gaston Browne said the six new cases were from 14 more tests recently carried out.

Three of them are said to be imported and the remaining three appear to be from community spread.

“Our community spread seems to be emanating primarily from returning nationals, including those who visited Montserrat for St Patrick’s Day,” he wrote.

“This is to caution our people to continue to respect the protocols of personal hygiene etiquette, social distancing, quarantining and isolation as appropriate,” Browne said.

The new cases take the country’s total confirmed cases to 15.

Earlier today, the PM warned the nation had not reached its peak regarding infections and warned that the current curfew “will continue for a longer period to protect lives”.

To date, 40 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Antigua and Barbuda. Twenty of the tests were negative; the remaining five are pending.





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COVID-19: LIAT suspends passenger services

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Passengers boarding a LIAT aircraft

The Leeward Island Air Transport reported Friday that it is suspending all passenger services for the next fourteen days due to the impact of COVID-19.

The airline will only operate charters and cargo flights during this period.

Chief Executive Officer of LIAT, Julie Reifer Jones says the imposition of travel bans and border closures had ground regional travel to a halt.

She says the company tried to maintain a limited schedule; however, the present conditions make this impossible.

As a result, the company has implemented a temporary suspension of passenger services from April 4th for a period of 14 days in the first instance.

Reifer Jones says the suspension will be reviewed after the first fourteen days.

The airline has also issued a travel advisory for all affected passengers.

They said passengers booked during the period of suspension will automatically have their bookings cancelled and will receive a full credit.

Additionally, passengers will be able to rebook as soon as the airline resumes services.

Reifer-Jones also acknowledged that this was an extremely challenging time for the airline, its employees and other stakeholders.

She says the airline had implemented several other measures including temporary layoffs and reduced working hours.

In addition, the airline’s Board of Directors is in direct communication with regional governments to secure a support package that would see the company maintain a limited schedule when the situation allows.

LIAT said it will continue to review the rapidly changing situation and remains committed to ensuring the region is connected.

LIAT operates in 15 destinations.

Dominica is a shareholder of LIAT with the majority being, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.





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Dominica receives first batch of medical supplies donation from China

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Chinese Ambassador, Lu Kun (left) and Health minister, Irving McIntyre at the handing over ceremony. To the extreme right is Foreign Affairs Minister, Kenneth Darroux

The first batch of medical equipment and supplies donated by China to Dominica was handed over on Saturday, April 4, 2020, at the China-Dominica Friendship Hospital.

The supplies, which were provided by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation, arrived at the China-Dominica Friendship Hospital on Friday, April 3. They include 1,536 nucleic acid test kits and 30,000 surgical masks which will be used for COVID-19 epidemic containment efforts in Dominica.

Chinese Ambassador, Lu Kun, who spoke at the handing over ceremony, expressed China’s continuing support for Dominica, especially in difficult times.

A release from the Chinese Embassy in Dominica states that the Minister for health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Hon. Irving McIntyre and Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations, Hon. Kenneth Darroux, who attended the ceremony, thanked China for its medical aid and spoke highly of the bilateral relations between the two countries.

A release from the Chinese Embassy in Dominica stressed the sound friendship which exists between China and Dominica.

“When the epidemic was taking a heavy toll in China, the Dominican government and people stood in solidarity with China in its disease control efforts,” the release states. “Dominican Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, spoke in Parliament supporting China and headed all Cabinet members to the Chinese Embassy to express solidarity for China. Despite difficulties, the Dominican government managed to donate masks to China.”

The release adds that Leader of The United Workers’ Party in Dominica,  “Hon. Lennox Linton and other people from all sectors of Dominican society also expressed their support.”

“Reciprocating an act of kindness is a fine tradition of the Chinese nation. Though still in huge demand for medical materials, China has managed to make the donation to Dominica in a short period of time, fully demonstrating the deep friendship between the two countries,” the release goes on to state. “China wishes to enhance cooperation with Dominica in the fight against the epidemic and further strengthen China-Dominica relations and the friendship between the two peoples.”

It is expected that more medical supplies donated by the Chinese Government and Embassy including 15 ventilators, N95 surgical masks, medical protective clothing, goggles, disposable medical gloves, disposable medical boot covers and forehead thermometers will arrive in Dominica soon.





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