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05 Apr 2020 | 02:45 PM UTC

Haiti: Country confirms first COVID-19-related death April 5 /update 2

Haiti confirms first COVID-19-related death on April 5; further spread of the virus expected

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HTI

Event

On Sunday, April 5, Haiti's Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) confirmed the country's first coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related death. The patient was a 55-year-old man who suffered from diabetes and hypertension.

On Thursday, March 19, President Jovenel Moïse declared a state of emergency following confirmation of the first two COVID-19 cases in the country. As a precautionary measure, all schools, factories, seaports, and airports have been closed as of Friday, March 20, though land borders remain open for essential cargo. Commercial flights are also suspended, and a nationwide curfew between the hours of 20:00 to 05:00 (local time) remains in effect. 

As of Sunday, April 5, there are 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the coming days and weeks.

Context 

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.