CNA Staff, Jun 25, 2020 / 10:48 am America/Denver (CNA).
Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski has called for a moratorium on the United States’ deportation of Haitians during the coronavirus pandemic, warning that Haiti’s healthcare system is not prepared to manage a widespread coronavirus outbreak.
“An ongoing surge of infection could destroy an already weakened economy and exacerbate political instability,” Wenski wrote in a June 19 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Haiti’s health system’s capacity to respond to COVID-19 cases is already at its limit, making the possible influx of new cases especially dangerous. I urge you to stop the deportations of individuals to Haiti at this time during COVID-19 in the interest of public health and stability in Haiti.”
Haitian health experts estimate that the country, with a population of 11 million, has only 39 physicians to manage COVID-19, 124 ICU beds and the capacity to ventilate 62 people, Wenski said.
Wenski himself has ministered to the Haitian population in Miami and in Haiti— Miami is home to hundreds of thousands of Haitian immigrants and people of Haitian descent. He said a larger COVID-19 outbreak in Haiti could push more Haitians to leave their country to seek work or opportunities elsewhere.