With COVID-19 continuing to spread across the globe, as of 3/19/2020, Honduras has nine confirmed cases. With severely limited medical resources and only 100 ventilators for its 9 million people, this impoverished country is joining other Latin American countries and taking an aggressive approach to contain the virus.
On Sunday (3/15), Honduras closed its borders. The government announced that all public and private sector workers must stay home; flights have been canceled; schools are closed; and public transportation has been suspended to stop the anticipated spread. PWW offices in Honduras are temporarily closed.
Maria Inestroza, PWW Country Director, shares these insights.
“People are scared. They have heard what is happening in the US, China and European countries…countries that have tremendous medical facilities. They know we lack these medical facilities. What’s more, here, so many people do not even have soap. They do not have clean water. They do not have hand sanitizer.”
Maria lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital city. She says,
“All I hear from my neighbor’s window is ‘don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water.’ It’s finally becoming a social norm in the city and is growing all over Honduras. I feel so proud to work for an organization that has, and continues to, work hard to get this practice embedded in the minds of people, to improve their overall health. Handwashing can save lives.”
We hope that, with these proactive measures, the people of Honduras will be safe from the COVID-19 virus, and the PWW team will be able to get back out and share these critical tools and practices with more vulnerable communities.
Updated 3/19. We are saddened to report that Haiti has two confirmed cases.
Despite taking the precautionary measures of closing the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and reducing air traffic a few days ago, President Moise confirmed that two people have tested positive for COVID-19 today and have been quarantined but gave no further details. All airports, schools, factories and seaports will be closed as of tonight.
As the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere, we sincerely hope initial efforts will help to limit the spread. Haiti does not have the infrastructure or medical facilities to manage a widespread outbreak. Millions of Haitians do not have access to the most basic necessities needed to protect themselves from this virus…clean water, sanitation and hygiene tools and practices.
Until this announcement, PWW’s office in Haiti has been open and the team has been continuing work, while making necessary preparations in the event virus was able to infiltrate their already vulnerable population.
We will keep you updated as we know more.
Wishing you all good health and wellness. Please practice social distancing and wash your hands often!