Haiti (MNN) — Haiti has seen very few COVID-19 cases, but the impoverished population can’t afford to take the lockdown measures used in other countries.
The COVID-19 situation in Haiti has changed since we last reported. Haiti was one of the last Caribbean nations to order a lockdown, and the case count in Haiti has been quite low, with official counts at 43 cases and 3 deaths as of April 17.
As a result, Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe recently declared victory over the coronavirus and reopened the country’s factories. Many warn, though, that the worst outbreak could still come. Read more MNN coronavirus coverage here.
Eve DeHart of For Haiti with Love says the first infections in the country came from air travel. “There were two active cases as the virus flew in from France. Of course, everyone on that plane was exposed. And that was Haiti’s first exposure to the virus. Prior to that landing, they didn’t have any. They immediately tried closing down the airport.”
Because of the rapid airport closure, crucial supplies did not make it to the burn clinic. “We were pretty devastated, but the Lord opened enough doors for them to get a permission to fly [a] cargo only flight. [In] only about two or three days our medicines were in place. We were ready before anything started taking place.”
The luxury of lockdown
DeHart says lockdowns do not work well with Haiti’s impoverished population. “[Haitians] don’t have big pantries. They don’t have a storage of food, and they don’t have the money to do it. They go out and hustle all day [to buy] the food for that day. And as a country, they just couldn’t do [a] lockdown. They [will] take their chances with the virus.” Instead, the prime minister simply called for the use of masks public.
DeHart says Haiti has dealt with diseases before. “They fight malaria and they went through the typhoid thing. You name it, and they’ve had it. And they figured, ‘We can do better to get out and get food for [our] kids than to sit home and watch them starve.’”
DeHart points out that Haitians can’t even wash their hands without leaving their homes and getting water.
DeHart asks Christians to pray that the coronavirus really will leave Haiti with very few cases and that the outbreak wouldn’t turn into a disaster. For the PrayerCast coronavirus video, click here.
Pray also that Christ will fill Haiti with his hope and peace.
Market in Haiti. Most Haitians cannot practice social distancing without losing access to food. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)