COVID: Dominican Republic first Caribbean country to drop COVID restrictions

The masks are off! Dominican Republic becomes first country in Latin America to drop ALL of its COVID restrictions

  • Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader announced the cancellation of all coronavirus restrictions Wednesday
  • No other country in the Latin America region has eliminated all of its preventive measures  
  • Abinader said it will no longer be a requirement to present COVID-19 passports for public places
  • Face mask use is no longer obligatory and social distancing measures have been eliminated
  • The Caribbean island has reported 4,352 deaths and 570,636 total cases 
Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader announced Wednesday the end of COVID-19 restrictions. The country is the first in the Latin America region to do away with the mandatory use of face masks, COVID-19 passports and social distancing measures

President Luis Abinader

The Dominican Republic became the first country in the Latin America region to scrap all of its COVID-19 restrictions – as infections dwindle despite barely half the nation being vaccinated.

President Luis Abinader announced the suspension of the preventive measures while addressing the Caribbean nation Wednesday evening- February 16, 2022.         

ALL MANDATES SCRAPPED

Abinader did away with the mandates that obligated the use of a face mask, social distancing and coronavirus passports to enter public places.

‘After this long battle, we begin to regain freedom,’ he said.

Abinader lauded the country’s National Vaccination Plan that was launched a year ago as one of the reasons that led to the elimination of restrictions – though many residents refused the shot and considered it a violation of their constitutional rights.

At least 5,844,147 people (53.9%) are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 7,043,796 (64.9%) people had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The Domincan Republic – with a population of 10.85 million – has reported 4,352 deaths and 570,636 total cases since the start of the pandemic, according to data updated Thursday by the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Research Center.

There were  77 deaths and 52,025 cases registered in the previous 28 days.

ALL RESTRICTIONS END

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader announced Wednesday the end of COVID-19 restrictions. The country is the first in the Latin America region to do away with the mandatory use of face masks, COVID-19 passports and social distancing measures
  ‘Time has proven us right in our actions against the pandemic,’ Abinader said.

‘We put ourselves at the forefront, we bet on contracting the widest variety of vaccines, we applied novel treatments and we were among the first in the world to propose a third dose, despite the little faith of a few.’

Abinader urged residents who have not done so to get vaccinated, implored those who have been jabbed to get their booster shots and vowed that the government will continue to monitor the pandemic.

Pandemic is not completely over.

Despite the elimination of the restrictions, Public Health Minister Daniel Rivera cautioned Thursday that Abinader’s decree does not mean that the pandemic is completely over.

‘The Health Cabinet and the Ministry had been studying for two weeks, we were waiting for the results of a study by Harvard University, apart from seeing the indicators that, as you can see, have been going down,’ Rivera explained. ‘The President has taken two basic measures that are about the use optional of the masks and to present the vaccination card, but the other measures remain the same.’

Rivera added that the Domincan Republic has a stockpile of nine million vaccines and two million test kits in addition to the medicine that is required to treat anyone who contracts the virus.

On Wednesday, health workers vaccinated 10,000 children between the age of 5 and 11 as well as an additional 2,000 people over the age of 12 who got their first doses.

‘Hospitals have all the necessary capacity,’ he said. ‘We want people to know that these areas are still protected and open, there will always be fear of a possible outbreak because the pandemic continues, Omicron is not endemic.’

Although Abinader suspended the restrictions tied to the prevention of the coronavirus, it’s unknown if visitors will still be required to present their COVID-19 cards or a negative PCR test.

Passengers in outbound flights to the United States – where mask use and social distancing measures vary by each state – are required to present a negative test a day prior to the trip.

Almost 5 million tourists visited the Dominican Republic in 2021, twice as many as in 2020 – and 77% of the 6.4 million reported in 2019 before the pandemic began.

In December alone, 728,335 non-residents entered the country, a historic figure in the Caribbean nation’s monthly tourism rates, according to the government.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: