We Are Ready
―Region prepared to deal with Coronavirus – CARICOM Chair, PM Mottley
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday February 4, 2020
Ministers of Health from across the region were on Monday briefed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency, (CARPHA), and the Pan-American Health Organisation, (PAHO), on the new strain of the Coronavirus.
The meeting also centred largely on the region’s preparedness in case of any eventuality, according to Chairperson of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley.
The new CARICOM Chair, who wrapped up a one-day visit to Guyana on Monday, said there was no need for panic over the virus.
“The aim 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,” PM Mottley stated
She explained that going into panic mode could cause the region’s economies and societies to implode. Adding that CARICOM will take an evidence-based approach on the matter and this will guide the appropriate response to any imminent risks.
“We need to equally contextualize it against other public health concerns and not be taken in by those who would want a rush to judgement that may lead to difficulty of our own societies and economies,” PM Mottley noted.
The CARICOM Chair said this matter would have to be dealt with daily because of the fast movement and nature of what “we” are confronting.
“So, I look forward to a report within the next few days from the ASG and from COHSOD, The Council for Human and Social Development, as to what is being recommended as the bare minimum which we must confront as we seek to protect our communities,” she added.
The CARICOM Chair noted that any country is free to do what it wants, however with the single domestic space that exists in CARICOM, governments must work to protect this.
PM Mottley said the Joint Regional Communication Centre set up by CARICOM can be used by the Member States to do real-time checks of passengers coming into the region through Interpol and the US Department of Homeland Security.