The latest on COVID-19 in the Caribbean
As the Caribbean steps up measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the region, here are the latest updates, up to March 13, 2020 according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to a March 12 update from the World Health Organisation, so far 125,048 people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, an increase of 6,729.
To date, 4,613 deaths have been confirmed, an increase of 321 deaths.
In China, there were 80,981 confirmed (26 new) and 3,173 deaths (11 new).
Outside of China, there were 44,067 confirmed cases (6703 new) and 1,440 deaths (310 new).
So far, 33 cases and one death have been confirmed in the Caribbean as of March 13, 2020:
Cayman Islands: 1
Dominican Republic: 5
French Guiana: 5
Guyana: 1 (one death)
St Barthelemy: 1
St Martin: 2
St Vincent & the Grenadines: 1
Trinidad and Tobago: 1
5 things to know about COVID-19
1. Elderly, those with medical conditions vulnerable to disease
According to WHO, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
2. Keep your distance
WHO advises that people maintain at least one metre (three feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Citizens are also avised to regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
3. How is it spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus.
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.
Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
4. What to do if experiencing symptoms?
WHO advises to self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache, low grade fever (37.3 C or above) and slight runny nose, until you recover.
If it is essential for you to have someone bring you supplies or to go out, e.g. to buy food, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people.
Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
5. Antibiotics cannot treat COVID-19
According to WHO, antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections.
COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work.
Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.
For more information please contact your nearest health centre and follow the official information platforms of your local health ministry.
For more information from WHO see here: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses