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New regulations in effect in Anguilla

While Anguilla has not recorded a new COVID-19 case in almost 40 days, the authorities aren't letting down their guard.

The island's health minister, Evans Rogers, has signed new regulations that ease some of the restrictions on movement. However, these restrictions, which remain in place until 31 May, limit gatherings and continues physical distancing practices that have been in place since 27 March.

"It is our plan to use the next month to reinforce preventive measures in order to ensure long-lasting behaviour change within our community. This is important in light of the fact that Anguilla is still dealing with the international implications of the pandemic as it continues to unfold around us," Rogers said in a statement.

The new measures prohibit gatherings of more than 25 persons in public or private places, beach or any parties, recreational or competitive sporting events, meetings of a fraternal societies, private or social club or civic association or organisation, or any other social events. The exceptions are for church services, weddings, funerals, people assembling for work, those attending school and those attending company meetings.

Even then, physical distancing must be practiced and no more than 25 people are allowed to gather, Rogers stressed. Anyone found guilty of violating these regulations faces a fine of $2,500, six months in prison or both.

Barbados launches 'We Care' initiative for front line workers

The statutory body that markets Barbados has launched an initiative to recognize front line workers in the battle against the coronavirus.

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) is giving ten front line health-care and law enforcement workers a seven-night staycation for two, or a seven-night holiday for two to anywhere Barbados has direct air service.

Using the tagline, "They take care of us, now we want to take care of them", the BTMI calls the initiative 'We Care'.

The social media driven initiative will encourage people to nominate their Barbadian front line heroes currently working through the pandemic with outstanding stories, the BTMI said in a release. Submissions will be open for a period of three weeks ending on 22 May, with the winning entries going forward to be judged by a panel, it said.

Barbados currently has 82 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the latest being a 55-year-old Barbadian male employee of the National Assistance Board, who came into contact with two known cases, according to the Barbados Government Information Service.

The NAB administers the country's home care programme and six of its 255 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bermuda partially reopens immigration department

Bermuda's immigration department reopened today, but only offers limited service, as the government tries to get the British overseas territory back to some form of normality. The health minister, Wayne Caines, said in a statement last evening that the department will process emergency applications – for medical purposes – but applications to replace expired passports, or for new passports will not be accepted at this time.

In addition to some tough conditions, which include communication with customers via email and telephone and in-person appointments only if required, Caines said strict social distancing rules will apply.

"We are thankful for the patience of the public as we navigate through this difficult time as a country. We are also especially grateful for the efforts of all our staff in the ministry of national security who have continued to operate in some form during the shelter-in-place (lockdown).

From an operational standpoint, the department of immigration partially re-opened Monday May 4, observing strict social and physical distancing as outlined by the ministry of health. All staff will work in shifts in accordance with a defined work schedule," the health minister said.

BVI to ramp-up testing

The British Virgin Islands is to increase testing this week as it attempts to control further spread of the COVID-19. The health minister, Carvin Malone, said while there have been only six confirmed cases among the approximately 28,000 population – three of whom have recovered and one of whom has died – additional supplies which the health services authority will receive this week will help with an aggressive programme of contact tracing.

"It is through extensive testing that we will be able to detect and contain any remaining cases of COVID-19, thereby minimising the risk of transmission in the territory," the minister said.

"Together with the excellent work of our dedicated surveillance and contact tracing team, I am extremely pleased to witness the ongoing expansion and enhancements of healthcare infrastructure, technology, and services to meet the new demands of COVID-19 prevention, detection, treatment and care," Malone added.

Cayman Islands eases restrictions

New regulations went into effect in the Cayman Islands today, as the authorities declare that test results to be encouraging.

However, health officials said the ability to open up community activity has to be cautiously approached and conducted in view of one positive result received last Friday "which has been deemed to be entirely through community transmission".

As part of the new regulations, public sector postal services, private sector pool maintenance, grounds maintenance, landscaping and gardening services, mobile car wash and mobile tyre repair services, laundry and laundromat services, pet grooming service providers, pain management and chronic pain treatment services are now considered essential services.

At the same time, restaurants have an additional hour to deliver food, and can now do so between 6 am and 7 pm, food delivery by other businesses and grocery delivery services now extended up to 10 pm, and supermarkets, convenience stores and minimarts, pharmacies and petrol stations can open for one hour longer up to 7 pm.

The Cayman Islands has now confirmed 74 cases, with the latest being a case of community transfer in Grand Cayman, chief medical officer, Dr. John Lee reported.

Nineteen new cases reported in Cuba

Health authorities in Cuba have confirmed an additional 19 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the number of positive tests to 1,668.

Dr. Francisco Durán García, the director of epidemiology said today the 19 confirmed cases were among results of 997 samples received yesterday, according to the official communist party newspaper, Granma.

Durán is quoted as saying all the newly confirmed cases were Cuban, 13 of whom were contacts of other confirmed cases, five did not specify the source of infection and one was an asymptomatic person who had travelled to Venezuela.

Granma reported that of the 1,668 patients diagnosed with the virus, 721 remain active cases, and 69 have died, including two who succumbed yesterday – a 79-year-old woman with end stage lung cancer and an 82-year-old man with prostate cancer.

Curfew extended another week in Grenada

Grenadians will be under curfew for at least a week longer, although the authorities have eased some restrictions.

The Keith Mitchell administration has announced that the curfew, which was scheduled to end at 7 am tomorrow, will be extended to Tuesday, 12 May.

"During this period, every person shall remain confined to their place of residence (inclusive of their yard space), to avoid contact outside of their household, except as provided in the regulations or as may be authorised in writing by the commissioner of police, acting on the direction of the cabinet," a government statement said.

However, there are designated business days - Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – when the public is also allowed to engage in outdoor exercise, alone or together with family members living under the same roof.

"Exercise must not exceed an hour-and-a-half per day, between the hours of 5 am and 6 pm," the statement said, while stressing that all beaches remain closed.

During this week a number of entities are allowed to operate on the business days, including wholesale and retail grocery stores, petrol stations, medical services and hardware stores.

Meantime, St George's University, which has operated in Grenada for over four decades, said it would continue with online courses and services until at least 1 August 2020, with no date yet for the reopening of the campus.

"Grenada has been home to our True Blue campus since its inception 44 years ago and SGU remains committed to Grenada and its citizens. The relationship with the government and people has strengthened throughout the years. SGU is enthusiastically participating in the efforts to re-open Grenada as the pandemic eventually subsides," the university said in a statement.

Another case recorded in St. Lucia

The number of COVID-19 cases in St. Lucia has risen to 18, with the island confirming one more case yesterday. The health ministry said in its latest update that the latest confirmed case was a 51-year-old male who had sought care at one of the country's respiratory clinics "with a dry cough but none of the accompanying symptoms of COVID-19". It said the person had no known travel history "and we are in the process of investigating the source".

The individual is currently in care at the respiratory hospital and is responding well to care, the health authorities said.

"The ministry of health's contact tracing team is undertaking the necessary follow-up for the identification and quarantine of contacts of this case," the ministry stated.

It said there was an "emergence of cases" on the east coast of the island, which "continues to be of concern to the ministry of health as we continue to receive reports of entry through unofficial channels".

The ministry said it would continue to strengthen surveillance in these areas and "anticipate the detection of more cases as community testing increases".

COVID claims another Guyanese victim

A ninth person has died in Guyana from the coronavirus, as the country continues to record a steady rise in the number of cases.

In releasing this information, the ministry of public health gave no details of the latest victim, but also indicated that the number of people in intensive care had gone up to three.

Guyana has confirmed 82 cases of COVID-19, up by four in one day. Twenty-four have been medically cleared and 51 remain in isolation.

The health minister, Volda Lawrence, has appealed to Guyanese to "change your behaviour patterns and adhere to the guidelines provided to enable us to stop the upward trajectory, and help flatten the curve.

" If not, we will have a situation beyond our control," Lawrence warned.

Another death as Jamaica records 469 cases

A 72-year-old man from the capital, Kingston, has become the ninth COVID-19 victim in Jamaica.

The ministry of health made the announcement in its latest update yesterday, as it announced that the number of confirmed cases had climbed to 469.

"Regrettably, Jamaica also recorded its 9th COVID-19 related death. The deceased is a 72-year-old male from Kingston & St. Andrew," the ministry said.

In the previous 24 hours, six samples tested positive for the virus, all from the north-eastern parish of St. Mary, who were contacts of a previously confirmed case, according to the health ministry's national surveillance unit.

Another positive case in SVG

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has recorded its 17 positive COVID-19 case, according to NEMO, the National Emergency Management Organization.

NEMO said in a release through the office of the chief medical officer that the last confirmed case was part of the cluster whose first case was reported on 21 April and was identified "as part of an aggressive contact tracing and testing campaign".

No further details were given.

Meantime, the health authorities said yet another patient has been cleared, bringing to nine the number of people who have recovered from the virus.

TCI extends restrictions

No one will be permitted to enter or transit through the Turks and Caicos Islands for the remainder of this month as air and sea ports remain closed under extended regulations that took effect today and continue through to 1 June.

Tourism officials said in a joint release from the ministry of tourism and tourist board that under the emergency powers regulations all airports "shall remain closed to regional and international flights" both commercial and private and seaports will remain closed to regional and international seafarers.

Additionally, cruise ports shall remain closed until 30 June 2020 "and no cruise ship shall be permitted to enter the Islands" until some time after the end of June.

The TCI has 12 confirmed cases, six of whom have recovered.