The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said it has approved $ 40 million to strengthen the health system in the Bahamas, with a focus on improving residents’ access to the country’s smaller islands.
The Washington-based financial institution said in a statement, “By improving health care capacities through the expansion of medical facilities and the provision of new medical equipment, it will facilitate access and improved services for approximately 60,000 people living on nine family islands.”
“Improvements in the delivery of the primary health care model and hospital services and the introduction of digital health information systems including telemedicine and electronic health records in 54 clinics will improve access and quality of health care,” it said.
The IDB said these measures will directly benefit at least 157,000 people, or about 40 percent of the Bahamas’ population.
The loan approval followed a separate $ 5 million loan from the bank’s private arm, IDB Invest, which was approved on April 30th.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said opening or closing borders is not a guarantee that COVID-19 will not enter the country.
Dr. Emergency Director Ciro Urgate answered several questions during a virtual press conference recently about the measures taken by different countries to contain the increase in cases.
Speaking of closing the borders, he said: “The virus is already internal and depends on the capacity of health care and internal control.”
He said there will continue to be high and low contagion times.
PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne said, “Although we are seeing some relief from the virus in the countries of the Northern Hemisphere, the end is still a long way off for most American nations.”
She also criticized the low number of vaccinations in the region.
The US Agency for International Development / Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission (USAID / ESC) and representatives from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA) recently signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Caricom’s headquarters in Guyana.
The MoU was signed during the virtual opening ceremony of the regional climate symposium Refresh, Renew and Re-pivot to Action of the USAID) / ESC.
The MoU reaffirms the longstanding partnership between USAID and leading climate protection organizations and also recognizes the urgent need for climate protection measures in the Caribbean.
The MoU was witnessed by Sarah Lynch, US Ambassador to Guyana and CARICOM, and Irwin La Roche, Secretary General of CARICOM.
Tourists who visit Jamaica since the sector reopened a year ago have spent more than $ 1 billion.
This was recently announced by Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, who said preliminary figures suggest Jamaica has been in the tourist sector since reopening on the 15th year period.
Bartlett said this is further evidence that the tourism sector is on a steady recovery path and that the tourism industry is forecasting 1.61 million visitors for the calendar year from an earlier estimate of 1.15 million, an improvement of 460,000 more visitors.
He pointed out that tourism recovery was on the horizon, adding that the sector was rising like a “phoenix from the ashes”.
Bartlett said the improvement is partly due to the development of robust health and safety protocols for the sector, as well as the establishment of the resilient COVID-19 corridors for tourism, which have a very low infection rate of 0.6 percent.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent La Soufrière volcano eruption on the island’s education system will not be felt for 10 years.
According to Gonsalves, it is important that students get back to the classroom as soon as possible.
He added that by the middle of this century, most of the country’s 40-year-olds would be severely affected by today’s events.
The prime minister said the nation is already seeing the problems of those who have missed education development.
Classroom teaching in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has yet to resume this year as a surge in COVID-19 cases last December forced schools to close after the Christmas break.
Students were scheduled to return to the physical classroom on April 12, but the volcano’s explosive eruption put this on hold as many of the country’s schools were used as shelters.
Gonsalves said at a recent press conference that people are afraid to return home, but the government is not going to force people out of the shelters.
The Prime Minister expressed fears that some students will not return to school.
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
Police from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands want to identify 20 bodies recently found off the coast.
Police Commissioner Trevor Botting said plans were also underway to contact the families of those found aboard the boat, describing the gruesome discovery as “a human tragedy and a troubling scene”.
Police said the 20 “inexplicable” human remains were found in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands by a group of fishermen who discovered the ship and alerted the maritime police.
The boat was later towed ashore, where authorities discovered the bodies.
In May, Trinidad and Tobago authorities confirmed that a ship found near Tobago with 14 bodies, a skull and skeletal remains came from Mauritania.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said everything was ready for the Trinidad and Tobago borders to reopen later this month.
However, this will depend on the level of COVID-19 infections, which has slowly but steadily declined in recent weeks since the state of emergency and exit restrictions were lifted, he said during a press conference.
Last week, Attorney General Faris-Al-Rawi passed a law to increase penalties for anyone attempting to misrepresent their vaccination status or COVID-19 results.
Parliament passed a bill that fined TT 350,000 ($ 50,000 or one year in prison for each traveler) who misrepresents their COVID-19 or vaccination status.
Speaking to the Senate in Port of Spain last week, Al-Rawi noted that the government had issued quarantine logs for people entering Trinidad and Tobago after the borders opened on July 15.
He said there was a maximum fine of TT $ 250,000 and six months in prison as a summary offense, or a maximum fine of TT $ 6,000 or six months in prison for any violation of COVID-19 regulations.
The AG stated that this does not mean that each violation will get TT $ 350,000, adding that this is the maximum penalty, but it is at the discretion of the judge.
– Compiled by Azad Ali