COVID-19 in Haiti: experts fear more than 20,000 dead

COVID-19 en Haïti: les experts craignent plus de 20 000 morts

PORT-AU-PRINCE | The coronavirus could cause more than 20, 000 deaths in Haiti, said Friday the scientific unit of the government, while calling for caution on the projections so that the measures of barriers are difficult to apply to the poor majority of the inhabitants.

“In the best case scenario, we expect approximately 2000 deaths, but, following the evolution of the situation, we can take these projections and multiply them by five, by ten,” announced the epidemiologist haitian Patrick Dely. “And in a context catastrophic, we can go beyond 20,000 deaths,” he added at the first press conference of the scientific unit established last month by the haitian government.

With a population of 11.2 million inhabitants, Haiti is still in the early stages of the epidemic Covid-19, with a total of 72 cases officially diagnosed and 5 deaths, according to the latest balance sheet of the health authorities published on Thursday.

Possible containment measures, such as those introduced in Italy and France, would be difficult to implement in the countries of the Caribbean, as the vast majority of the population depends on a daily basis in the informal economy to survive.

The medical system of the country not being able to cope with a massive influx of patients, the dilemma of the haitian authorities is therefore to reduce the risk of contamination while allowing citizens to continue to work.

The industry of outsourcing textile, which employs almost 60,000 people in Haiti, has been allowed to resume part of its activities on Monday after a month break.

Only a third of the staff is not allowed to be present simultaneously in the factories, but, in spite of the weakness of the daily wage of 500 gourdes 7.0 canadian dollars), the resumption of work is vital for the employees, since no unemployment insurance exists in Haiti.

Even before the advent of the health crisis, the UN estimated already that more than 40 % of Haitians were in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

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