Local February 29, 2020 | 7:28 am

The country takes the threat of the coronavirus seriously

Santo Domingo, DR

The increasingly latent risk that the coronavirus (COVID-19) can arrive and be detected in Dominican territory at any time, has forced health authorities to adopt rigorous surveillance and control measures, including suspension for the next 30 days of direct flights from Milan, Italy to the country because it is the second focus exporter of cases after China.

This measure contained in a new provision released yesterday by the Minister of Public Health affects about 8,000 travelers arriving every month, distributed on two weekly flights that arrive Friday and Saturday through the airports of La Romana and Las Américas. The previous day had prevented the landing of the BRAEMAR Cruise Ship, with 1,512 people on board, because eight had symptoms of fever, cough and respiratory distress.

The Minister of Public Health, Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas, during a meeting with the National Coronavirus Monitoring Commission, said that given the significant flow of tourists from Italy, new provisions were issued. / VÍCTOR RAMÍREZ


In a press conference after concluding a meeting with the National Coronavirus Monitoring Commission, the Minister of Public Health, Dr. Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas, said that so far the Dominican Republic has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus and that in the face of the significant flow of tourists which receives from Italy, new provisions were issued.

By means of circular 00-594-20, addressed to different entities and organizations, the Ministry of Health arranged the reports and procedures that should prevail in front of travelers from Italy. It states that the airlines and cruise ships should inform about the origin of their passengers and that passengers with symptoms should be notified to the Epidemiology Department and evaluated by Public Health personnel.

The circular states that airlines must ask Italian passengers if they have flu symptoms and report them to the Ministry of Health for evaluation.

In Italy, there have been at least 11 deaths.


There are no confirmed cases
The Minister of Health was emphatic in pointing out that so far the country does not have any confirmed cases of the coronavirus, so he called on people not to get carried away with information that is circulating in social networks.

Likewise, the Minister of Health informed that the purchase of equipment and supplies for the preparation of the country against the coronavirus are advanced, after the issuance of the decree declaring them emergency, in which some 224 million pesos will be invested.

He informed that a list of the country’s requirements was prepared to complete his preparation to give an immediate response to register cases.


Given the rapid spread – more than 83,000 cases in more than 50 countries -, WHO urged countries to prepare.


Outside of China, the coronavirus has already infected more than 5,000 people and caused more than 80 deaths. WHO warned to assume that one is protected against COVID-19, it would be a “mistake.”


Mainland China (without Hong Kong or Macao) announced yesterday another 44 dead and 327 new cases of infection. In total, it records 78,824 infected and 2,788 dead.

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