Dominica closes schools after confirming first COVID-19 case

The Dominican government has closed schools on the island and urged citizens to adopt social distancing as the island recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit giving an update on Tropical Storm Dorian Tuesday
Dominica’s PM Roosevelt Skerrit

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in a radio broadcast on Sunday night, also urged Dominicans to follow the guidelines of the health professionals and not to panic, adding that the person who had contracted the virus, had recently returned from the United Kingdom.

“We shall beef up security and screening at our ports of entry.”

— Skerrit

“With the revelation of the first imported case we have moved from level one to level two,” Skerrit said. “Against that background, I am making the decision to suspend all classes at schools, we shall intensify screening at our borders and I anticipate in a day or two we shall be announcing new measures and regulations with respect to the opening of our ports of entry.”

Don’t panic

But he said Dominica will follow international practice and guidelines, noting “we are a small nation and with the positive testing it will take a few days for persons abroad wanting to return home and for visitors wanting to return to their homes to formalise such travels.”

Skerrit said he also anticipates that the island would need to “stock up on vital supplies, especially medical and health-related cargo.

“We shall beef up security and screening at our ports of entry, and by mid-week, I shall have more to say on the issue of mandatory quarantine of persons entering our island,” he said.

“I urge citizens to take the opportunity for the next few days to stock up on essential items. There is no need for panic, and there is no need for hoarding of goods.”