Dominican Rep. + 5 more

Caribbean Situation Report July 2021

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Situation Report
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Situation

  • Aruba no longer required the use of masks and lifted some restrictions, but physical distancing measures remained intact. The Department of Health (DVG) started a vaccination campaign targeting young people between the ages of 12 and 16, with parental permission, in response to an increase in critical COVID-19 cases among children. Registration was done via a health app, except for refugee and migrant (RM) children who must pre-register through an R4V partner, or directly with the DVG. Additionally, the Aruban Food Bank indicated food baskets would replace food cards previously issued by the Red Cross. R€Mis expressed concerns to R4V partners that the change would limit their choices, not fulfill special needs (including of babies), and further impact housing arrangements, since the cards were previously accepted by landlords in lieu of rent payments. Gaps remained in the delivery of tablets and internet connectivity to all REM children, due to limited funding.

  • Curacao maintained COVID-19-related travel restrictions but welcomed travelers at the height of the tourist season. Curfews were lifted and nonessential businesses re-opened, despite the Delta variant being detected. The effects of the last lockdown continued to affect the livelinoods of R£M, noticeable in the increase of food aid requests; one partner noted that approximately 3,500 households had registered for food aid over the past months. Separately, young people between the ages of 12 and 17 were targeted for vaccinations in government campaigns, with no parental permission required for persons 16 and over wishing to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Dominican Republic authorities announced plans to ease COVID-19 restrictive measures, and proposed to reopen all provinces that registered a vaccination rate of 70%. Bars, restaurants and the entertainment sector saw respite with the country's de-escalation plan, and the authorities raised the minimum wage by 24%. They also announced a reduction on visa application fees, including for Venezuelan children, while Notary Lawyers” tax payments for processing the legal documentation were removed, making the regularization process for Venezuelans more accessible. Additionally, the government ordered the resumption_ of merchandise exports to Haiti to prevent greater social instability.

  • COVID-19 cases increased in Guyana, including among children. Curfews remained in place, while the Minister of Health advised that all variants of the COVID-19 virus might be present in the country and urged all persons to get vaccinated. Skepticism and fear acted as a deterrent for locals and refugees and migrants to receive the vaccin among all populations, prompting the GoG to consider enacting penalties for unvaccinated people. The private sector commission called on businesses to endorse stringent measures on unvaccinated employees.

  • TheTrinidad and Tobago (T8-T) authorities responded to decreased COVID-19 cases by re-opening the construction sector and associated businesses. Restaurants re-opened for delivery and curbside pick-up of meals only. The state of emergency remained in effect through August, with the retail sector staying closed, impacting Re€Ms” and nationals' livelinoods. However, the country re-opened borders in July, removing the exemption system but with revised controls. Non-nationals including Venezuelan R€ Ms were among those vaccinated in the country's mass vaccination exercise. As a result of negative socio-economic pandemic impacts, 700 Venezuelans returned home on 17 July via a commercial ferry; the largest return exercise from Té:T to date. The trip was organized by the Government of Venezuela as part of its assisted repatriation plan from South American and Caribbean countries. The departure tax of TTD 75.00 was waived by the T£-T Ministry of Finance for each passenger. The country was also affected by flooding and related damages rendering at-risk groups more vulnerable. Additionally, partners throughout the Sub-region commemorated World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July through various activities including the publication of an Opinion Editorial discussing the evolving nature of child trafficking using new technologies in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday and anti-TiP webinars held in Guyana.