COVID-19 pandemic in the Dominican Republic
|COVID-19 pandemic in the Dominican Republic|
Confirmed cases by province (as of 24 May 2020)
Confirmed cases per 100 thousand inhabitants (as of 24 May 2020)
|Arrival date||1 March 2020|
(2 months, 3 weeks and 5 days)
On 31 December 2019, the Health Commission of Wuhan, Hubei, China, informed the WHO about a cluster of acute pneumonia cases with unknown origin in its province. On 9 January 2020, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) reported the identification of a novel coronavirus (later identified as the SARS-CoV-2) as the cause. The disease in China affected over 80,000 people, causing over 3,200 deaths (as of March 25, 2020) and has now spread to over 210 countries and territories across the world.
First confirmed cases
On 1 March, the first case in the country and the Caribbean was confirmed. A 62-year-old man from Italy entered the country on 22 February and fell ill on 24 February, when he was transferred to Ramón Lara military hospital from the beach resort of Bayahibe. On 6 March, the second case in the country was confirmed as a Canadian tourist (also vacationing in Bayahibe) was detected. On 8 March, three more cases were confirmed from Dominican tourists that came from a trip to Italy. On 14 March, the Minister of Public Health, Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas, confirmed six new cases. All of the individuals had been outside of the country within the past 14 days.
The first documented case of local transmission seems to have originated from a 56-year old Dominican woman from the town of Villa Riva on Duarte Province  who had traveled from Italy to the Dominican Republic on 26 February 2020. The woman, named Oneida Herrera Díaz, refused to be sent to Santo Domingo to be in isolation after receiving her COVID-19 positive diagnosis, returning to her home instead. She seems to have passed on the virus to her neighbour. Two weeks later, Duarte Province confirmed number of cases are only surpassed by the two larger urban centers (Distrito Nacional/Santo Domingo and Santiago) in the number of cases (29) and leads in the number of casualties (4). This cluster of cases seems to have originated around those in close contact with Mrs. Herrera Díaz.
San Pedro Cluster
On the week of 16 March, a number of COVID-19 cases in San Pedro de Macorís Province (including its Senator José Hazim Frappier) and the Armed Forces Colonel Kalil Haché seem to have contracted the virus during a fundraising dinner on Club 2 de Julio in the city of San Pedro de Macorís.
Punta Cana wedding
On 14 March, a high-profile wedding in Cap Cana seemed to be the COVID-19 infection source for a number of its attendees, which included many foreign residents. The wedding received a lot of public criticism for having had a "crazy hour" theme mocking the coronavirus concerns. The chancellor of the Dominican Republic, Miguel Vargas Maldonado would have contracted the virus from his son, who attended the said wedding and also contracted COVID-19.
Costa Favolosa cruise ship
Twenty Dominican doctors were exposed to the virus while celebrating their 30-year medical school graduation anniversary on board the Costa Favolosa cruise ship around the Caribbean. They started the journey on March 2, and before landing on 9 March, at least five in the Dominican party presented COVID-19 symptoms, and later tested as positive for the virus.
First death and notorious casualties
The first COVID-19-related death was announced by health authorities on 16 March 2020, of a 47-year old Dominican woman who had recently traveled from Spain  On 24 March 2020, renowned designer Jenny Polanco, who tested positive on 15 March, died too. On 27 March, Armed Forces Colonel Kalil Haché died at the Ramón de Lara Hospital; the next day his widow died too. Haché was elevated posthumously to the rank of Brigadier General. On 31 March 2020 writer René Rodríguez Soriano died.
On 23 March, the Minister of Public Health reported two recoveries, a 12-year-old child and a 26-year-old woman.
A number of schools and universities suspended classes due to COVID-19 concerns on March 16 and 17, with many switching to virtual learning platforms.
On 17 March, President Danilo Medina gave an address to the nation and declared a state of emergency, announcing a series of measures to try and stop the spread of the virus. He ordered all land, sea, and air borders be closed for the next 15 days, taking effect as of 19 March. Additionally, all commercial business activity will be suspended, with the exception of supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, and pharmacies. Schools will remain closed through 13 April, and public employees who are 60 years of age or over, or those with a pre-existing health condition, must stay confined to their residences.
On 20 March 2020, the government decreed a mandatory night curfew from 8pm to 6am until 3 April. Only doctors and health workers, journalists, and guardsmen were exempt. However, many residents in the Greater Santo Domingo area resisted the measure; on the first night, 1,714 were arrested during the curfew. On the second night, 2,102 were arrested during the curfew.
On 26 March 2020, the government extended the night curfew schedule to 13 hours: from 5pm to 6am.
A number of provinces have decided to limit access to their territories to avoid contagion from COVID-19, such as San José de Ocoa, and El Seibo, which remained case-free (as of 26 March). Other provinces in case-free areas are asking their authorities for similar measures.
|María Trinidad Sánchez||79||3||5|
|San José de Ocoa||4||2||0|
|San Pedro de Macorís||56||7||8|
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