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Antigua's 2020 carnival cancelled

The Antigua government has announced the cancellation of its 2020 carnival, the country's premier summer festival.

The national festivals minister, Daryll Matthew, said yesterday the cabinet decided over the weekend to cancel the 23 July to 4 August event because hosting it would not be in the people's best interest.

Matthew also said the authorities felt the public had no interest in attending such gatherings at this time.

The minister indicated that attention will now focus on planning the 2021 carnival, which will coincide with the country's hosting of Carifesta.

Four more recoveries, no new cases in Barbados

It's been five days since Barbados recorded a new case of COVID-19, health officials reported today. At the same time, four more people were scheduled to be released from isolation today after testing negative for the virus.

According to a release from the Barbados Government Information Service, the four persons who tested negative for the second time yesterday were among 28 negative test results.

This brings the number of persons who have recovered from the viral illness to 23, while 47 others remain in isolation.

The island has recorded 75 positive tests since the first cases were diagnosed on 16 March. Of these, five have died.

First local transmission case suspected in Grenada

On the day new, relaxed curfew protocols took effect in Grenada, health authorities have all but confirmed the first suspected case of local transmission of the coronavirus.

The health minister, Nickolas Steele, said in a statement this morning that the person, a man whose name and age were not released, was admitted to hospital yesterday with symptoms consistent with Covid-19 and that test results were pending and expected late today.

"He is now isolated in the Covid-19 section of the hospital, while we await official confirmation from the PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test," the minister said. "As of this moment, we are treating the case as a presumptive positive."

The individual has no travel history and Steele said the authorities were unable to determine if the person has had contact with previously affected people.

"There is also the possibility that other individuals are asymptomatic, meaning that they are carriers of the virus but do not exhibit symptoms. They are, however, still able to transmit the disease to others. We must, therefore, prepare ourselves for the possibility of a community spread of Covid-19 in Grenada," he cautioned.

It was only on Saturday that the Grenada government announced relaxed protocols after Steele said the spread of the virus had been contained in communities throughout the tri-island state.

The new measures, which took effect today, include more days for shopping and opportunities for more businesses to be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 5 am and 7 pm. People are now free to cross the parish borders during designated shopping hours.

Another COVID-19 death in Guyana

The death toll in Guyana from the coronavirus has risen to seven.

While the health minister, Volda Lawrence, confirmed the death, there were no further official details.

However, Kaieteur News reported that the victim was a man who died in the intensive care unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation on Saturday.

In an update posted on its website yesterday, the ministry confirmed the seventh fatality, and said there were 63 confirmed cases from 322 people who have been tested for the virus. It said four people remain in intensive care and nine have recovered.

Steep rise in Jamaica's number

There's been a dramatic rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Jamaica. In its latest update this morning posted on its COVID-19 dashboard, the ministry of health reported 196 cases. That's 23 more than the 173 reported in its last update on Friday.

There was no additional information on the new cases up to the time of publication. However, the 196 cases include 120 females.

Three more cases in Martinique

Martinique has recorded an additional three coronavirus cases, bring to 160 the number of confirmed cases.

The French Caribbean island's regional public health authority, Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) gave no details about the latest cases in its update late on Friday.

However, it said 16 people remain hospitalized in intensive care with the virus, and the death toll remains at eight.

The island is currently under an 8 pm to 5 am curfew until 11 May.

Montserrat Shutdown Extended

The current shutdown in Montserrat is to be extended by just over a week.

The government announced over the weekend that the shutdown will continue until midnight on Friday 1 May.

However, a three-day window will be allowed at the end of the current shutdown to enable residents to purchase essential items and conduct money transactions.

During the window, which ends on Wednesday 22 April, supermarkets, banks and money transfer services, petrol stations and bakeries will be allowed to open to the public during specific hours.

The island currently has eight active COVID-19 cases after recording its second recovery over the weekend.

However, the ministry of health has warned that while the island appears to be trending in the right direction, failure to adhere to established physical distancing protocols could derail progress with the containment of COVID- 19.

One additional case confirmed in St. Kitts

There are now 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Kitts & Nevis, with the confirmation of one additional case.

A release from the St. Kitts Tourism Authority last night gave no additional information, leaving unclear when the case was confirmed, the person's gender or age.

It was only on Wednesday, 15 March that the prime minister, Timothy Harris, announced a one-week extension of the 24-hour full curfew through to 6:00 am Saturday, 25 April. During this period "no one is permitted to be away from their residence without special exemption as an essential worker or a pass or permission from the commissioner of police", the government said at the time.

Ten now dead from COVID-19 in St. Maarten

The number of people to die from the coronavirus in St. Maarten has reached double digits.

The prime minister, Silveria Jacobs, said in a national address last night that the latest victim was a Dutch St. Maarten resident who had been tested and treated in French St. Martin and flown out to Guadeloupe for critical care last week.

She gave no further details but said as he was a Dutch St. Maarten resident he would be removed from the French St. Martin count and added to that of Dutch side.

Jacobs also reported an additional three positive tests, bringing to 67, the number of confirmed cases and the number of active cases to 45.

As of 1:00pm yesterday, there were 98 people in self-quarantine and 87 in self-isolation.

With the territory's economy, yet to recover from Hurricane Irma in 2013 and is being further ravaged by the virus, Jacobs announced that a stimulus support programme will take effect this week.

The programme includes payroll support for people affected by COVID-19, under which it will pay 80 per cent of workers' wages for a three-month period.

TnT places further limits on hardware stores

Hardware stores in Trinidad and Tobago are facing further restrictions on opening hours as the government battles to contain the coronavirus.

The ministry of health said in a post on its website and on social media that effective today and continuing through to 30 April, the opening hours for hardware stores will be from 8:00 am to noon on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

This decision will affect all hardware stores, including electrical and plumbing establishments, the ministry said.

Trinidad and Tobago has recorded 114 COVID-19 cases, with no new cases reported since 15 April.