SANTO DOMINGO — Health authorities in the Dominican Republic, St. Martin and St. Barts said today that the coronavirus is present in at least one patient in their respective countries.
In Santo Domingo, a 62-year-old Italian man was transferred today to an isolation room in a military hospital near the capital and is in stable condition, Health Minister Rafael Sanchez said at a press conference. Another tourist, a 56-year-old man from France, is under observation in the hospital and awaiting test results for the virus.
As coronavirus spreads rapidly around the globe, Dominican authorities on Friday ordered the cancellation of all flights from Milan, Italy for 30 days.
The measure will affect some 4,000 passengers who had reservations to fly on a low-cost airline from Milan to La Romana, a coastal tourist area, according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism. The Dominican Republic city’s name means “The Roman” in Spanish. Rome is the capital of Italy.
The Dominican government also said on Friday that it will subject all travelers coming from Italy, regardless of nationality, to epidemiological reviews at airports in the Caribbean nation.
Meanwhile, across the region, three cases of the feared coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in the French island of St. Barthélemy (St. Barts) and French Saint Martin, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
The cases were confirmed by the Institut Pasteur Laboratory of Guadeloupe which is conducting tests for the virus.
The cases involve a resident of St. Barthélemy and his visiting relatives, the Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) confirmed in a press release today.
France, meanwhile, reported three cases on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, one of France’s other overseas territories like Saint Martin and St. Barts.
Guadeloupe is where the joint U.K.-France Production of the popular TV crime drama “Death In Paradise” is digitally shot on video.
The announcements came shortly before the Braemar cruise ship, which had been denied entry to the Dominican Republic due to the virus fears, at last found a place to dock — the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten.
The Dominican Republic has at least 11 million citizens; more people travel to Santo Domingo on an annual basis than any other Caribbean island.
It is the number two sex tourism capital of the world, behind only Bangkok, Thailand.
In a story March 9, about the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe, The Associated Press erroneously reported that there were confirmed cases in Guadeloupe, one of France’s overseas territories.
A French official says there are currently no proven cases of the virus in the Guadeloupe archipelago.
The St. Lucia News Online and Associated Press contributed to this report.
Reporting by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez; writing by Julia Love; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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