No cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the Caribbean, assured regional tourism and health officials, who are hard at work aiming to keep the region coronavirus-free.
A partnership established five years ago between the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the private sector-led Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) as well as the public sector Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is helping to drive a concerted effort by the region’s health and tourism stakeholders to help prevent and mitigate any impact from the spread of the virus, which has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global public health emergency of international concern.
The three organizations quickly mobilized over a week ago, with CARPHA playing a key role in gathering facts and preparing briefs and tools for the region’s largest industry, tourism, based upon its consultations with global health authorities, including WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We see CARPHA as a key intermediary between global and local health authorities in brokering information and sharing intelligence essential to monitoring the situation with the Novel Coronavirus and preventing its spread into our region. This is important to the health of our residents and visitors and also important to the Caribbean’s economic well-being, as tourism is the region’s most important contributor to employment and revenue,” stated CARPHA’s Executive Director Dr. Joy St. John.
“CARPHA is recommending that Caribbean Member States be proactive and vigilant. They must step up surveillance measures at points of entry, communication strategies which emphasize good hand hygiene, and measures targeted at reducing the importation of this new virus to our shores,” stated Dr. St. John, who underscored that currently, there are no restrictions to travel to the Caribbean.