Barbados records fifth death

A 52-year-old Barbadian man, who passed away yesterday morning, became the fifth person to die from COVID-19 there, health officials have confirmed.

The island's acting chief medical officer, Dr. Anton Best, in making the announcement, extended condolences to his family and thanked the health professionals who continue to work around the clock to treat those patients who are in isolation.

Of the five people to die from the viral illness, four have been men. News of the man's death came as the island reported yet another case, bringing the number of confirmed infections to 73.

The latest patient is a 48-year-old man, who came into contact with a known case, the authorities said.

Schools in the Cayman Islands likely to reopen in September

Schools in the Cayman Islands are likely to remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, even as the authorities push for a complete eradication of coronavirus.

The premier of the British overseas territory, Alden McLaughlin, has said his government is aggressively pursuing a virus-free country, beginning at a point where there are no new cases over a two-week period.

Only then, he said, would the administration consider lifting some of the restrictions, which include a 7pm to 5am curfew from Monday to Saturday, and all day Sunday. During this curfew only essential workers can leave their homes.

However, he said any easing of the restrictions would not likely include the reopening of schools across the island. Instead, The McLaughlin suggested that schools would reopen for next academic year in September.

"It is absolutely achievable to eliminate the disease here," Cayman Compass quoted the premier as saying.

"The advice we have had is that if we can get to a point where there are no positive results for 14 days, we can start to look at easing some of the restrictions on a phased basis."

St. Maarten's numbers tick up

Another positive case on St. Maarten has brought the number of confirmed patients to 53, thirty-nine of which are active.

The prime minister, Silveria Jacobs, made the announcement in a national address last night. Jacobs also said as of 14 April the number of people in self-quarantine stood at 90, with 161 in self-isolation.

The prime minister also said four patients have been hospitalised, one of whom is in a critical condition on a ventilator.

The latest case comes as a new report said that coronavirus could hit black Dutch community hard.

According to the Daily Herald in St. Maarten, the report from the National Platform Slavery Heritage LPS said the media, the education system and the public health services will fall short as the black community of the Netherlands is being kept out of political and government decision-making processes.

It calls for political will and recommends that government reinstate an institution that could provide them with advice from the black community.

The paper said the research on which the report was based was conducted at the behest of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). "The section PAD [People of African Descent] of OHCHR has been receiving complaints about human rights violations in measures that are being taken worldwide against the disease. The OHCHR started global exploratory research and we have been asked to conduct the research in the Netherlands," the LPS stated. The report was handed in yesterday.

It started off hinting that where the COVID-19 is concerned, the saying, "You don't see whom you don't hear" would apply to the black community. It charged that the media never show people of African descent as professionals in expert panels.

"The good practice examples they show are only from a white perspective and they certainly never show anything from outside the Dutch culture or from countries that have a history of Dutch colonialism. We are left to believe that there is nothing worrisome happening outside the view of the cameras," the paper quotes the report as saying.

Health agency reports another case on St. Martin

The number of COVID-19 cases on the French collectivity of St. Martin continues to rise. The regional health authority, ARS, reported yet another confirmed case yesterday (Tuesday), bringing the number of active cases to 17 and the overall count to 35.

The ARS gave little information about the latest patient except to state that the person is in home isolation.

This brings to 12 the number of cases at home, with a further five in hospital.

Of the 35 cases since the outbreak began in St. Martin, 13 have recovered, three were repatriated to their countries of origin and two have died from the disease.

Trinidad records one new case

The ministry of health in Trinidad today reported one new case of coronavirus.

In a brief post on its Facebook page and its website, the ministry said the person had contact with someone with a history of travel. No other details were given.

This brings to 114 the number of COVID-19 cases in the twin island republic.

Meanwhile, in Guyana, the health authorities, in an update yesterday, listed the number of cases as 48, with six deaths. However, only 224 people have been tested.

Trump has 'blood on his hands" over COVID handling

A Nobel prize-winning economist has accused the US president, Donald Trump of having "blood on his hands" over the president's handling of the coronavirus out break

Professor Joseph Stiglitz said Trump was culpable for cutting the Government budget for pandemic preparedness and failing, in recent weeks, to use his powers to get ventilators to hospitals and vital protective equipment to front-line health care workers.

"He has equivocated over and over again", Stiglitz told Econ Films' CoronaNomics show.

Trump has also been roundly criticised for ending US funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depriving the body of US$500m per year.

The president blamed the UN body for "covering up" the outbreak in its early stages. He offered no evidence for his contention.

The UN, EU and the American Medical Association have all expressed outrage, and one professor called the decision "one of the least productive, most short-sighted, self-motivated and hypocritical acts I have ever witnessed".