Caribbean nations seeking to acquire protective gear to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Miami Herald). A new policy from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prevents U.S. vendors from shipping personal protective equipment, PPE, overseas (Miami Herald). To accomplish this, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will detain shipments of PPE and allow FEMA to decide where the shipment will proceed to (Miami Herald). The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Barbados have already had containers of PPE purchased from U.S. vendors blocked from entering their territories (CNW).
Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness disclosed that COVID-19 test kits were intercepted by U.S. authorities, blocking swabs and extractors from reaching the island (CNW). Ventilators are also on the list of prohibited items, but in the few cases where ventilators were intercepted, shipments eventually reached their overseas destination (Miami Herald). Jamaica’s Minister detailed that the Trump administration’s decision to halt overseas shipping of PPE was unlikely to affect Jamaica’s dealing with the virus (Jamaica Gleaner). A Barbadian philanthropist who had earlier accused the U.S. of blocking a shipment of ventilators has since walked back his allegation upon the shipment’s reception (Miami Herald 2).