Caricom holds emergency meeting

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Caricom holds emergency meeting
A tourist in quarantine inside the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, Spain, yesterday. Spanish officials say a tourist hotel on the Canary Island of Tenerife has been placed in quarantine after an Italian doctor staying there tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
A tourist in quarantine inside the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, Spain, yesterday. Spanish officials say a tourist hotel on the Canary Island of Tenerife has been placed in quarantine after an Italian doctor staying there tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – Cari­com Min­is­ters of Health held an emer­gency meet­ing on the COVID-19 virus on Wednes­day and agreed to the es­tab­lish­ment of a work­ing group to for­mu­late rec­om­men­da­tions and pro­to­cols for a pos­si­ble re­gion­al re­sponse to the dis­ease.

Re­cent­ly the Cari­com Heads of gov­ern­ment out­lined that an out­break could re­verse eco­nom­ic gains of Cari­com states, but recog­nised that the risk of trans­mis­sion of the virus in the re­gion re­mained rel­a­tive­ly low.

This sec­ond emer­gency meet­ing of Cari­com’s Coun­cil for Hu­man and So­cial De­vel­op­ment (COHSOD-Health) was al­so joined by Cari­com chair­man, Prime Min­is­ter Mia Mot­t­ley of Bar­ba­dos and Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al Am­bas­sador Ir­win LaRocque. It was chaired by An­tigua and Bar­bu­da’s Min­is­ter of Health Mr Mol­wyn Joseph.

The work­ing group in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Cari­com Sec­re­tari­at, the Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency (CARPHA), Cari­com’s Im­ple­ment­ing Agency for Crime and Se­cu­ri­ty (IM­PACS), the Caribbean Dis­as­ter Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (CDE­MA), the Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (PA­HO) and the Min­is­ters of Health from Grena­da and Ja­maica.

It will re­port back to a re­con­vened meet­ing of the COHSOD-Health this af­ter­noon.

In propos­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of the group, PM Mot­t­ley urged that Cari­com rec­om­mends a pos­si­ble course of ac­tion for re­gion­al gov­ern­ments to con­sid­er.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, the ris­ing cost of the coro­n­avirus out­break for busi­ness and the world econ­o­my is ex­pect­ed to be­come clear­er this week as ma­jor firms is­sue trad­ing up­dates and Chi­na re­ports the toll on its man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

The In­ter­na­tion­al Civ­il Avi­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ICAO) has al­ready pro­duced some pre­lim­i­nary fore­casts re­lat­ing to the ex­pect­ed eco­nom­ic im­pacts of COVID-19 trav­el bans on in­ter­na­tion­al air con­nec­tiv­i­ty.

ICAO re­port­ed that some 70 air­lines have can­celled all in­ter­na­tion­al flights to/from main­land Chi­na and that a fur­ther 50 air­lines have cur­tailed re­lat­ed air op­er­a­tions.

The pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mates from ICAO in­di­cate that the first quar­ter of 2020 has in­stead seen an over­all re­duc­tion rang­ing from 39 per cent to 41 per cent of pas­sen­ger ca­pac­i­ty, or a re­duc­tion of 16.4 to 19.6 mil­lion pas­sen­gers com­pared to what air­lines had pro­ject­ed.

It said: “This equates to a po­ten­tial re­duc­tion of $4 to $5 bil­lion USD in gross op­er­at­ing rev­enues for air­lines world­wide.”

In re­la­tion to an­oth­er health is­sue af­fect­ing the re­gion, the heads ex­pressed con­cern about the es­ca­la­tion of Chron­ic Non-Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases.

They re­cent­ly re­ceived a re­port with re­spect to the in­ci­dence of heart at­tacks which ac­count­ed for the high­est per­cent­ages of deaths amongst NCDs in most coun­tries in the re­gion.

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