COVID-19: Martinique Advises Tourists To Leave As Lockdown Tightens

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RFI:-  France’s overseas territory of Martinique will enter a tougher lockdown for three weeks from Tuesday to tackle a Covid-19 outbreak on the Caribbean island, the local prefect has announced.

Martinique had already imposed an evening curfew, but the tougher Covid-19 lockdown, set to start from 7pm, will force non-essential shops, hotels and beaches to close and clamp down on people’s movements.

Authorities in Martinique have also advised tourists to leave the island.

“We will be entering a second phase of lockdown … Shops will close, except for food shops and pharmacies,” said Stanislas Cazelles, the prefect for Martinique. He encouraged “all vulnerable tourists to leave the territory”.

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“Hotels will be closed – except to professionals and residents of the territory; the same goes for seasonal rentals,” the prefect added. “Stores useful for the back-to-school period” will reopen “when the health situation has improved”, he said.

“Firms and civil services are also encouraged to participate in this lockdown, organising their services so that a maximum of employees can work from home,” Cazelles added.

The prefect said culture and leisure facilities would be closed, including beaches, which “will no longer be accessible to the public”.

Residents must also restrict their movements to a maximum one-kilometre radius from their homes.

Cazelles acknowledged the new rules were “strict” and said they would be lifted as soon as the health situation allows. They would re-evaluate the measures, he said, “in 15 days”.

40% of cases under age of 40

331 people are currently hospitalised for Covid-19 on the island whose population is just over 372,000. 49 people are in intensive care, 11 people have died in the last 48 hours.

French journalist and left wing politician Audrey Pulvar, born in Martinique, tweeted that 40 percent of patients in ICU’s in the main hospital were under the age of 40 and appealed to her fellow islanders to get vaccinated.

Medical support from mainland

Last Sunday, French Health Minister Olivier Véran appealed for volunteer doctors and nurses to travel to the overseas territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique as hospitals on the two islands are struggling to cope with a spike in Covid-19 infections.

This Tuesday, around 240 healthcare professionals are due to arrive for a 15-day support mission. Véran is slated to travel to Martinique on Thursday.

Fort de France’s main university hospital has stopped staff taking summer holidays, French daily Le Parisien daily has reported.

Martinique has one of France’s highest Covid-19 incidence rates, with nearly 1,200 cases per 100,000 people; hospitals are stretched to 227 percent of capacity.

The island’s vaccination rate is much lower than mainland France: only 22 percent of Martinique’s population has received a first dose of the vaccine compared to nearly 65 percent on the mainland.

French Polynesia

Meanwhile, the health situation has also degraded in French Polynesia which will reintroduce a curfew from 9pm to 4am as from Wednesday.

Tahiti and the other South Pacific islands could quickly go into lockdown, the high commissioner Dominique Sorain warned on Monday, as the number of Covid-19 infections spike.

In mid-July the incidence rate was less than 10 and is now more than 1,000 Sorain told local TV on Monday evening. 159 people are currently hospitalised for the virus, 27 in intensive care. 166 Polynesians have died of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic including nine last weekend.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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