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Coronavirus: Coordinated Response in the Caribbean

Multisectoral coordination for protecting Caribbean travel and tourism for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus: Coordinated Response in the Caribbean

There are no cases of coronavirus in the Caribbean, and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) wants to keep it this way.

The Centre is working with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to promote a multisectoral coordinated response with academia, private and public health, and tourism agencies for protecting Caribbean travel and tourism during the current coronavirus global crisis.

The Caribbean boasts of the highest number of travelers per population worldwide. Tourism is the key economic driver for the region. While there are no cases of the coronavirus in the region to date, no direct commercial flights from China and persons are screened prior to arrival in the region, the rapidly changing global situation necessitates multisectoral health and tourism coordination. The declaration of the coronavirus crisis as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) has created a heightened fear of traveling globally. “The global travel and tourism industry is being called upon to play a pivotal role in shaping global response efforts, with focus on preventing exposure beyond the currently affected areas as well as to isolate infected persons from uninfected populations” states Ed Bartlett, the Head of the GTRCMC, and Minister of Tourism for Jamaica.

Minister Bartlett to attend Caribbean Travel Market in Bahamas
Minister Bartlett

CARPHA is the regional health lead in the GTRCMC. The Agency is equipped to investigate and manage communicable diseases. CARPHA has activated its Incident Management Team and is coordinating regional health response through the Regional Coordinating Mechanism for Health Security. The Member States must reinforce surveillance measures at points of entry, good hand hygiene, and measures targeted at reducing the importation of this new virus to our shores,” stated Dr. St John, Executive Director, CARPHA.

Good hygiene practices are key for preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Travelers are advised to:
• Stay informed about the COVID-19 situation in any country to which they are traveling.
• Practice general infection control measures, such as frequent handwashing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
• Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough
The GTRCMC will convene a meeting this week with key health and tourism regional (CARPHA, CDEMA, CTO, CHTA) to develop a joint action plan for a coordinated response to continuing protecting the Caribbean people, its travelers and unique tourism product against coronavirus and other like threats.