Monday, January 25, 2021

CARICOM Chair Calls for Calm as she warns against creating panic over Coronavirus

It is no news that the Coronavirus epidemic has caused a lot of panic and concerns all over the world. One of the leaders calling for a calm head in the handling of the crisis is the Chairperson of the Caribbean Community and the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley. She has come out to admonish the Caribbean to be calm despite the news of the deadly virus spreading to 20 other countries.
In an interactive session with the media at the CARICOM headquarters during a press conference held to mark the end of a one-day visit to Guyana, the Prime Minister revealed that regional ministers of health have been holding series of meetings to help tackle the issue. The Carribean public health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan-American Health Organisation have been briefing the ministers on the new strain of the virus and how the region is prepared to prevent and contain it as the need may arise.
Mottley was clear on the fact that the government was keen on protecting the region and at the same time preventing the possibility of panic. The aim according to her is “ensuring the region can protect –first and foremost –its population but at the same time ensuring that panic does not beset our people…history has shown that panic does not assist the resolution of these matters. Ensure that we do not go into panic mode or we do not cause our economies or societies to implode.”
The leader pointed out that CARICOM will adopt the evidence-based approach in order to mitigate the risk of infection in the region. The regional leader expressed her satisfaction that the region is ready to deal with the virus.
She was quick to give the credit to the establishment of the joint regional communication centre by CARICOM which enables member states to conduct necessary checks of a passenger who visit the region through Interpol and the US Department of Homeland Security.
Mia Mottley pointed out that this first stage is followed by a secondary assessment carried out by Port Health Officers.
She stressed on the fact that even though each country was free to decide how they intended to go the disease, there was a need for a minimum standard since countries in the region share a single market and a very close domestic space. “Of course any country can do what it wants but if you have a single domestic space as we do in the CARICOM single market, we need to make sure that there is a minimum standard below which no one falls, ” She said. And she added that panic was not the way out”… and that is what we are trying to do recognising that the temptation to overshoot and to panic is what we’re trying to avoid.

Another meeting is the offing as regards the threat of the virus. The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) will meet for the second time to ensure systems that have been put in place to address the threat of the virus are running efficiently.
The new disease caused by the Coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, China. BBC puts the number of cases at over 20,000 as at 3rd of February. A total of 425 people have died from the virus.
The government of Guyana has strongly advised its citizens against visiting China and posited that anyone coming into Guyana from China will most likely be denied entry.
The Federal Minister of health stated that people coming in from China to Guyana will be subjected to extra check and scrutiny. They will undergo quarantine protocols in a facility or at home depending on the outcome of the risk assessment.
People have been coming into Guyana from China in their hundreds since the 1st of January. However, CARPHA said that the region is largely safe and the risk of the virus infection is way below average.

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