Dominica to donate face masks to China

The Dominica government says it will be donating 10,000 masks to China as the country fights the spread of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people in the Asian country.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is also urging “all nations to work diligently” with Beijing as it combats the virus.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

“The government of Dominica wishes to say to all nations that this is not a time for nations to take decisions in an effort to isolate the People’s Republic of China,” he said, adding that his administration “in a show of gratitude and concern…will make a donation of 10,000 face masks to the government of the People’s Republic of China.”

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“We say to our steadfast friends, the People’s Republic of China, that Dominica stands by your side in this hour of great difficulty.”

Health Minister Dr Irvin McIntyre told Parliament that the island would soon be able to carry out testing for the virus with the assistance of the US-based Centre for Disease Control.

“We will be the only country in the Caribbean that can test for coronavirus. No other country in the Caribbean can do this,” he said, noting that Barbados is also trying to get this done.

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He said the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Friday gave the island 80 per cent preparedness to deal with the virus, adding “this is much higher than many other OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States).”

No tuberculosis outbreak

Meanwhile, McIntrye has denied an outbreak of tuberculosis (TB), saying last year there were 11 cases and this year, so far, the island has recorded five cases.

“Our lab has the gene expert testing to do for tuberculosis and some time the issue with tuberculosis is (that) we have a stock-out. There are certain drugs you need to prevent multi-drug resistant tuberculosis…we have taken it a step further and we have actually bought 5,000 of these tablets, so the idea of a stock-out doesn’t exist anymore.”

McIntyre, a medical practitioner, said that on the issue of dengue, last year the island recorded 30 cases per week, but it has been reduced to 11 this year.

“Last year, we had about 11 cases admissions (to hospital) this year we are down to two,” he said, praising the health authorities for their handling of the dengue situation.