The Dominican Republic has closed its border with Haiti to prevent the spread of potentially deadly cholera, which has been festering for the past several days in its quake-ravaged neighbour.
Officials in Santo Domingo said that entry into the country from Haiti would be severely restricted and increased border security to ensure that the strict new regulations are complied with.
"We will maintain strict supervision of our ports, airports and border crossings points to prevent the transmission of this disease to our country," Bautista Rojas, public health minister in the Caribbean nation, was quoted as telling local media Monday.
Officials said only Haitians with the proper visas and who have complied with a rigorous new health checklist would be allowed entry, according to news reports.
No cases in Dominican Republic
So far, there have been no cases of cholera reported in the Dominican Republic.
Officials in Santo Domingo said that as a precaution to cholera arriving from its next door neighbour, they have closed a popular open air market that operates on the two countries' shared border and have banned the import of food products from Haiti.
More than one million Haitians live and work in the Dominican Republic, with which Haiti shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
Health officials in Haiti said they believe they had gained the upper hand over the cholera outbreak the first in the impoverished country in more than a century which has killed 259 people.
Authorities fear that the fast-moving disease, which so far has been contained in Haiti's hinterlands, could reach the squalid tent camps of Port-au-Prince.
This is where hundreds of thousands of refugees have been living since after the powerful January 2010 earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital, killing more than a quarter-million people.
(Sapa, October 2010)