Haitians travelling from the Dominican Republic ride bikes at the border of Malpasse, Haiti, on March 17. Haiti has suspended flights from Europe, Latin America and Canada and imposed major restrictions on the border with the neighbouring Dominican Republic to prevent the entry of the coronavirus COVID-19. Photo credit: Reuters/Andres Martinez Casares.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic--The government of the Dominican Republic (DR) will suspend commercial flights and ships as well as close schools and entertainment centres beginning today, Thursday, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the president announced.
“We have decided to close the country’s borders by land, sea and air,” President Danilo Medina said in a televised speech on Tuesday night.
The DR’s sole land border is with Haiti, and restrictions at that border began on Monday, the day DR health officials reported the island nation’s first fatality attributed to COVID-19.
Over the next 15 days, only airplanes serving the thousands of foreign tourists who remain in DR tourist destinations will be allowed to enter the country, Medina said. The planes’ crews will not be permitted to disembark.
The DR government will also permit the arrival of aircraft and ships bringing in basic supplies.
Businesses will be closed, with the exception of pharmacies, markets, grocery stores and banks, while restaurants may only process delivery orders.
Public employees over the age of 60 must remain in their homes, while other bureaucrats will be divided into two groups to alternate shifts, in additional prevention strategies.
The DR Congress on Wednesday was expected to debate an emergency bill that would free up funds to permit additional responses to the pandemic. ~ Reuters ~