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DomRep border markets to reopen amid cholera fears

DomRep border markets to reopen amid cholera fears

Dominican officials announced new health measures Thursday to try to keep a cholera outbreak from spreading from neighboring Haiti as they reopen four popular outdoor markets along the border.
Bathrooms, hand-washing stations and makeshift clinics were set up near vendor stalls, and hospitals have been equipped to prepare for possible cases, according to Health Minister Bautista Rojas.
Border-crossers will be asked to fill out a form stating whether they have had any symptoms associated with the disease.
Rojas said Haitian merchants will be limited to certain areas and Dominican soldiers will enforce the restrictions. Previously, Haitian vendors had been allowed to set up stalls not only in the marketplaces but also in nearby streets.
The four main markets _ the largest of which has more than 3,000 stalls _ normally open twice a week but have been shuttered since Oct. 25 following a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 720 people in Haiti and hospitalized more than 11,000.
Rojas said no cholera cases have been reported in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
Juan Tomas Sosa, vice president of the Dajabon Vendors Association, said the closure has cost them nearly $1 million, and dozens of Haitian vendors have protested, demanding that the markets reopen.
Rojas said the markets are expected to reopen Friday.