Haitians looking from a balcony in Port-au-Prince. Photo by George H. Rouzier for The Haitian Times

President Jovenel Moïse issued a decree Monday banning all outdoor activities between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., the same day health officials said 15 people died of COVID-19 in a 72-hour period.

Marie Clément, the minister of public health, said during a press conference Monday that in addition to the 15 deaths, 306 people contracted the virus between Friday and Sunday. Her announcement follows a series of public figures who had died from the disease.

In Moïse’s decree, he made wearing face masks mandatory and required all organizations to do temperature checks and have handwashing stations. Employers must also reduce the number of staff on duty by half. Residents in public places must stand 1.5 meters, about five feet, away from each other.

Those requirements are part of the country’s eight days of health emergency that went into effect Saturday.

Recently, various businesses, organizations and schools had begun announcing temporary closures due to the pandemic. Marie Ghislaine Mompremier, the minister of women’s rights, announced Monday that The National Old Age Insurance Office (ONA) headquarters will close for three days. The human sciences department of University of Haiti also said in a statement on Monday that it will close for seven days.

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