Suriname goes into total lockdown; the Netherlands to send medical support
Starting on Monday, Suriname will go into a total number due to steadily rising coronavirus infection numbers. The Surinamese government has called the situation “extremely unmanageable” and indicated the highest risk level: code purple. The lockdown is set to last until June 18.
The total lockdown means that even essential stores such as supermarkets, bakers and butchers are only allowed to up three days a week. One person per family is allowed to do the shopping while the remaining members have to stay inside. Hardware stores are allowed to open due to heavy rainfall recently resulting in flooding. Public transport will be completely shut down and schools will continue to remain closed.
“Based on the Covid-19 figures, we are forced to proceed with stringent measures. They provide sufficient reason for the country to indicate code purple”, the government wrote in a press release. Code purple is the most serious color code from Covid-19 in Suriname.
Hospitals in the South American country are maxed out and there is a shortage of medical supplies, including Covid-19 vaccines. Dutch health minister, Hugo de Jonge, announced that the Dutch cabinet plans to send between 500 thousand to 750 thousand doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Suriname. The Netherlands will also send two oxygen containers to Suriname in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense.
The vaccines from the Netherlands will arrive at the earliest at the end of June “provided there is sufficient supply”, De Jonge wrote in a letter to the Tweede Kamer. The Cabinet had consultations with the Surinamese government earlier this week during which it was concluded the Netherlands would not be able to immediately help Suriname. The ministry announced that vaccines will not be sent prior to week 26.
Surinamese Prime Minister, Chan Santokhi, stated in a press release that supplies from the Netherlands will already be delivered next week. The Dutch Ministry of Health has not yet reacted to this statement.
There are just under 600 thousand inhabitants in Suriname. Figures from the John Hopkins University showed that on Friday there were 293 new cases of the coronavirus bringing the seven-day average up to 223 cases. In total, there are around 2,500 active coronavirus cases. In the ICU, there are 35 Covid-19 patients.