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TCI News

TCI now with four COVID-19 patients; first two cases infected contacts

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – March 28, 2020 — Contact tracing of Turks and Caicos first two cases of COVID-19 results in an increase of positives of coronavirus for the UK overseas territory; the TCI now has four infected individuals.

“We still don’t have any confirmed deaths but we now have four, rather than two, confirmed cases.  We learned that yesterday evening,” said Nigel Dakin, Turks and Caicos Islands Governor in a national update on radio this morning.

“You know this virus spreads, it spreads from person to person.  The more you follow the laws, but also the spirit in which the laws are drafted, the safer you will be and the safer your immediate family will be.  And in these islands, if family can stay safe, society can stay safe.”

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The Turks and Caicos, since 5 a.m., has been in a 24-hour national lock down. 

The ‘stay at home order,’ was on Monday March 23, passed with a batch of other temporary regulations in the House of Assembly, which give the governor Emergency Powers. 

The most drastic of the measures prohibits the free movement of residents for 21 days, unless to access essential services. Add to the full lock down, is a nightly curfew.

“For clarity, what we mean by this is that each night, from 8pm to 5am, the rules that you have followed over the last two nights apply.  Be at home.  Only those essential front line services – involved in direct work during the hours of curfew – or those involved in preparing our supermarkets – may be on the roads,” explained Governor Dakin.

Arrested on night #1 on TCI curfew enacted as public health measure amidst COVID-19 concerns

There were several arrests and vehicle confiscations from night one of the curfew, which is being enforced by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police.

“The police have to use their judgement and will.  Don’t expect to be able to say you are going to get ‘gas’ when you have anything other than close to an empty tank.  I say this for the 1% who we know will not follow any guidelines and will just be permanently selfish, looking to stretch the rules to suit themselves.”

Police Commissioner Trevor Botting leads night #1 curfew in TCI

His Excellency reminded that senior citizens, disabled persons and essential workers are in a special category; able to access grocery stores between 6am and 8am. The 24-hour lock down remains in place in the Turks and Caicos Islands until April 14, 2020.

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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