Catch up on the news coming to each week from around the Caribbean, today, however, we start off with news from further afield. Listen the podcast.
Half-Million Infected Worldwide As Economic Toll Rises
The human and economic toll of the lockdowns against the coronavirus mounted Thursday as India struggled to feed the multitudes, Italy shut down most of its industry, and a record-shattering 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in a single week.
As the number of infections worldwide reached a half-million and deaths climbed past 23,000, the damage to people’s livelihoods and their well-being from the effort to flatten the rising curve started to come into focus.
In India, where the country’s 1.3 billion people were under orders to stay home, legions of poor were suddenly thrown out of work, and many families were left struggling for something to eat.
“Our first concern is food, not the virus,” said Suresh Kumar, 60, a bicycle rickshaw rider in New Delhi whose family of six relies on his daily earnings of 300 rupees, or $4. “I don’t know how I will manage. [ Read More.](http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/observer-west/-wi-a-feel-di-pressure-covid-19-knocks-south-trelawny-yam-farmers_190566?profile=1431 http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/world-news/20200326/half-million-infected-worldwide-economic-toll-rises)
The US Now Leads World In Confirmed
NEW YORK — The United States now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.According to a running count by Johns Hopkins University, the number of people infected in the US topped 82,000 on Thursday.
That’s just ahead of the 81,000 cases in China and 80,000 in Italy. Italy has the most confirmed deaths of any country with more than 8,000. More than 1,000 people have died in the US. Read More.
Bull Bay Quarantine To Be Lifted, But
Corn Piece’s Maintained
Restrictions will be lifted this Saturday on residents in quarantined sections of Seven Miles and Eight Miles in Bull Bay who have had their communities under lockdown since Friday after contact-tracing concerns linked with Jamaica’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.
However, those in Corn Piece, Clarendon, the community visited by a Jamaica-born New York resident who is this country’s only COVID-19 fatality so far, might not get a similar reprieve since the latest confirmed case of the novel coronavirus is the son-in-law of the 79-year-old man who died. The son-in-law is the country’s 26th confirmed case.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton made the announcement during yesterday’s virtual press conference via Zoom, warning the country that the number of infected persons is likely to rise.“As we discover these additional cases, it is important for us to appreciate as a country that these are expected under the existing circumstances.
I don’t want the Jamaican people to lose hope or feel that we are not making progress even with each positive case that is identified,” the health minister said. Read More.
Miss Kitty Dedicates Radio Show To Cuban Doctors And
Today from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m., the Fluffy Diva Miss Kitty will dedicate her Nationwide radio show to Cuban doctors and nurses who are giving of their expertise and time in the fight to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The segment will include Spanish music, attempts to learn Spanish and also vibrant lessons about Cuban culture, food, and history. “As a token of our appreciation, I just wanted to say thank you to the Cuban nurses and doctors coming to Jamaica to help us in this time of crisis.
I know that they’re in quarantine, that they must miss their country and their family members as well, because they’ve come here to put their lives on the line to help the Jamaican people. I wanted to welcome them to Jamrock,” Miss Kitty told The Gleaner. Cuban healthcare workers have also deployed in hard-hit countries like Italy.
“It’s quite commendable, very benevolent and thoughtful of them, that they have left their country which is also having a coronavirus crisis, to come to other people’s country to aid them. I just can’t help but think that the stone that the builder rejects tun di head cornerstone,” she added.
As such, Miss Kitty will also take the opportunity to highlight the relationship shared between these two Caribbean nations, forged by our late former Prime Minister Michael Manley and the Cuban government.“Over the years, Cuba has got a bad rap, based on their political structure.
Though many do not agree with their political structure, there are other good things, great things about them as a people, and as a nation. [And] now we stand as beneficiaries to the connection,” the radio host said. Read More.
Koffee Lands National TV Commercial
In The US
JAMAICA’S GRAMMY kid, Koffee, is enjoying a new lease on life with her single ‘Toast’, which is now featured in a new Life Water (LIFEWTR) mainstream TV commercial, which premiered on television stations nationally in the USA.
LIFEWTR is a premium bottled-water brand that was added to PepsiCo Inc’s portfolio in 2017. The company has positioned itself as a brand for emerging artists.
As the North American bottled-water sales continue to grow, industry data suggest that sales are expected to reach US$23.9 billion by 2022.Information on LIFEWTR’s website states, “We feature the captivating work of some of the boldest and most transformative artists of today …
That’s why every few months we launch a new series of LIFEWTR bottled water focused on a unique aspect in art – putting the spotlight on three new emerging artists.
”Koffee joins a handful of Jamaican acts like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Busy Signal, Hopeton Lewis, Dawn Penn, Inner Circle, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Shabba, J.C. Lodge and a few others whose songs have been featured in TV commercials in the lucrative US market.Koffee’s rise to superstardom has not been coincidental.
She was the breakout artiste at Rebel Salute 2018 and her song Toast has racked up millions of views on YouTube and was listed as a favorite of former US President Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama, who used it as part of her exercise routine. Read More.
Alaine, Da’Ville Join Tyler Perry’s
Although it is the preferred domain of trolls and other undesirables, more than ever, social media, along with the array of online platforms, has become the go-to space for everything, and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Creatives are taking over and making their voices resound with positivity. World-renowned producer, director, actor, screenwriter, playwright, author, songwriter, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Tyler Perry, on Sunday launched the
HesGotTheWholeWorldChallenge, which could become the online collab of the
year, similar to the iconic 1985, many-voices single, ‘We Are The World’.
“Alright, how about something to make us feel a little better. I’m gonna start this song, and want y’all to add to it. All the musicians out there. All the singers. Change the key.
Take it up. It’s my hope that we add to this simple song in every language from every nation as we let it become a prayer for our whole world! God bless you today. And remember it’s all in God’s hands!” posted Perry, who then unveiled his hitherto hidden chops.
He also tagged a few of his talented friends, including Fantasia, Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark Sheard, David Mann, Johnny Gill, Jencarlos, Tamela Mann and Bishop Paul S. Morton, who all participated in the social media singalong challenge.
Other singers, and regular folk, around the world, including Jamaica, have since accepted the challenge to send the traditional African-American spiritual around the globe, and lift spirits that are broken, fearful and confused.
For reggae singer Alaine, responding to the challenge was a no-brainer, and, following instructions posted by Perry, she even spiced up her version with a little Jamaican Patois, “Fada yuh got di whole-a we, di whole-a we, in your hands, yuh got di whole wide world in your hands.” She shared with The Gleaner that she accepted the challenge because she needed it. Read More.
Antigua and Barbuda
UPP Salutes the
Cuban Medical Brigade
The United Progressive Party (UPP) and the people of Antigua and Barbuda express a warm and fraternal welcome to the Cuban Medical Brigade dispatched by the Government and People of Cuba to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UPP recognizes that in times like these, true friendship manifests itself in what is being done rather than what is being said.
The Party commends the Cuban people and its government for the assistance they extend to Antigua and Barbuda, as well as to other states in the region and beyond.
The Party notes that while developed countries turn inwards to tackle their own COVID-19 challenges, Cuba has so far sent Medical Brigades to seven countries. Read More.
Government Reports Severe Decline In Revenue Amidst
The COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Minister of Health, Molwyn Joseph, has reported that the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) anticipates that its revenue will decline by $22 million dollars because of the decline in employment triggered by the Covid-19 global coronavirus crisis.
With the recent closure of a number of hotels on the island, the income of hotel workers and of other workers connected to tourism sector has declined precipitously; the payments to the Medical Benefits Scheme reflect the decline.
According to chief of staff Lionel Hurst, one hotel manager reported that workers who are laid-off will receive EC$150 weekly, until the crisis passes.
All hotels have agreed to allow their senior workers to access 50% of the Thrift Fund which includes the amounts contributed by the employer. The Social Security System has reported also that its revenue has declined as incomes for workers who have been laid-off come to a halt or reduced significantly.
The Government’s revenue has also declined significantly as several sources, including tourism receipts, decline. Read More.
Boats docking at OBB marina in
West GB a major concern
Amidst protests by West End residents over the Community Clinic being considered as one of the facilities for quarantine COVID-19 patients, another deepening concern is the arrival of foreign boaters to Old Bahama Bay (OBB) Resort and Marina.
Earlier this week this daily investigated and discovered that at least 15 boats were docked at the marina in West End, despite Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis imposing a 24-hour nationwide curfew, as Grand Bahama confirmed its first coronavirus case. The PM also declared closure for borders and ports except for emergencies and cargo import.
The Freeport News reached out to Old Bahama Bay Chief Financial Officer James Culmer, who admitted that OBB Marina has had a sizeable number of incoming guests.
However, he insisted that OBB officials are taking precautions to examine each boat captain or owner before entering the resort. Culmer explained that the visitors are required to fill out an immigration and health form, followed by a Dr. FrankBartlett examination.
Revealing that 30 boaters entered OBB two weeks ago and 15 last week, he stated further that visitors are only looking for a place of safety from the virus and selected Grand Bahama as an island of refuge. Read More.
Twenty-two Bermudians left on cruise
More than 20 Bermudians are marooned on a cruise ship denied entry to a series of ports in the Southern Hemisphere because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group is on board the Bermudian-registered cruise ship, Coral Princess, which was on a cruise from Santiago in Chile around South America and the Caribbean. Pamela Maybury, who works for island travel agents Travel Edge is a passenger on the ship.
She said: “We were on the first leg, which would’ve been 14 days, finishing in Buenos Aires, Argentina.“We got as far as the Falkland Islands and then couldn’t go into any more ports as they were denying us entry because of the virus.
”The Coral Princess set sail from Santiago in Chile on March 5 for a 32-day cruise in the Latin American region, but is now steaming back to its final destination, Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
The ship is owned by Princess Cruises, whose Diamond Princess ship was earlier quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, after hundreds came down with Covid-19. Ten had died by Tuesday.
Mrs Maybury said she and other passengers on the Coral Princess had been tested for symptoms of the highly contagious coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
All had come back clear.“We have had our temperature checked a few times and there’s nobody who has been sick on the ship at all at this point.“Everybody has been very healthy, so that’s been our saving grace. Nobody has even had a cold.
“I think this is our safest place and the crew have taken good care of us.”Mrs Maybury said all 22 Bermudian passengers on the ship were kept up to date on the Covid-19 crisis at home. Read More.
Health officials explain Dominica’s hospital readiness for
Hospital Medical Director, Dr. Ruby Blanc, has revealed that the COVID -19 patients being treated at the isolation unit in St James at Portsmouth, are stable and being monitored closely.
The country on Wednesday 25th, March recorded 11 positive cases of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).According to Dr. Blanc, patients are being housed at both units – the one in St James and another at the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital (DCFH).“Most of the management of the patients in St James is in the form of monitoring to detect any deterioration,” Dr. Blanc said.
“I am pleased to announce that the patients at St. James are stable and continue to be monitored closely.”She said the patients at the DCFH are those who may be experiencing some kind of clinical, significant respiratory or breathing complex.
She explained that the treatment in that area will include support therapy.Dr. Blanc went on to say if patients' breathing becomes severe then they will be placed on a ventilator.
She said so far, no patients had been placed on ventilators, “And I am sure we will all pray that we will not need to have any patients being ventilated.” Read More.