Haiti reports first two coronavirus cases

Port-au-Prince (AFP) –


President Jovenel Moise announced Haiti's first two cases of novel coronavirus on Thursday as his government adopted extraordinary measures to contain its spread.

"We have found the two first cases of coronavirus in our national territory," Moise said during an address televised on state media.

Haiti is the Caribbean's poorest and most densely populated country and the virus' arrival spurred the government to implement a series of restrictive measures, including an 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew and ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.

Schools, universities and vocational schools are set to close Friday until further notice and Moise ordered factories to suspend work.

He additionally ordered borders closed, with the suspension of all commercial flights from Friday, along with closing all passenger points of entry.

Moise also warned against selling "medicines and hygiene and health products" on the black market.

The president called for calm, saying his government has "always committed to transparency when it comes to managing this pandemic."

Lockdowns such as those in Italy and France could be difficult to replicate in Haiti, especially in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The vast majority of the city's nearly three million inhabitants depend on informal work to survive.