Caribbean countries that succeed in tackling their infection rates have many different challenges, but one enemy is common: COVID-19. The 12 Caribbean countries and territories with the lowest number of active cases to zero active cases as of Oct. 14 — Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines — fit this criteria. While many countries are reporting increased cases of COVID-19 especially in the Americas and Europe, these 12 Caribbean islands have demonstrated proven measures and have cause for great optimism. They have acted early and some have tested widely in the fight against the coronavirus disease thereby successfully controlling or preventing widespread transmission of the virus. Six of these Caribbean islands are among the 11 countries in the world with zero active COVID-19 cases.
Caribbean Boasts 6 of 11 Global Nations with 0 Active COVID-19 Cases
Something has been done right in containing the coronavirus in the Caribbean; specifically, in each of the 12 Caribbean countries and territories with the lowest active cases. Whether it was the right time to impose restrictions and lockdowns, effective contact tracing, wide testing or other health measure response, one thing certain is that something was done right to achieve successful results. Looking at the response measures for some of these successful islands, Bermuda and Cayman Islands have topped the Caribbean with the most testing for COVID-19 per capita. The Cayman Islands went from strict lockdown to relaxed restrictions after successfully managing their health crisis. Cayman residents are no longer restricted in their hours to shop, bank and leisure. However, there is a 500-person limit for gatherings.
Other regions — New Zealand for instance — have been widely credited for acting early and effectively against the disease. Likewise, these 12 Caribbean islands with the lowest active cases should also be lauded for managing the spread of the virus and saving lives. However, balancing health and wealth comes with high criticism; government leaders juggle between health measures and economic fallout.
Countries are not only being judged by how they control the spread of the virus but also by how they handle the economic fallout that accompanies the disease. Take the United States; a major international trade partner in tourism and manufacturing for many of these Caribbean islands. The world is watching how the United States is handling the pandemic and the impending general election in November. Elections can pose a great opportunity to shift the blame of the economic fallouts and loss of lives from COVID-19 while an opportunity can be missed to purely examine the pandemic for what it truly is. On the other hand, it can present an opportunity to present a case for better handling of the pandemic. The pandemic has infected over 238,000 people in the Caribbean region and caused over 4,000 deaths.
COVID-19 challenges ahead
A great challenge will be when borders are fully open to international travel. That is, if not already for some of these Caribbean nations. Some countries are using or about to introduce high-tech solutions to contain the virus. Quarantine bracelets/wristbands are being used in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands for self-quarantining persons. Manual systems are now being transitioned to digital and contact less systems when conducting business at the British Virgin Islands’ trade and promotions department. We have seen countries go from a flattened curve to a second and third wave. A few months ago, Belize and Trinidad & Tobago, for instance, were applauded for keeping cases to near zero while infections increased elsewhere in the Caribbean. The pandemic faith of any country can change swiftly due to a combination of different events — hopefully for the better.
This article was adapted from MJ Simpson, and originally appeared on Virgin Islands Daily News. Read here.