(PRESS RELEASE) – Having raised the risk level of coronavirus (COVID-19) to the Caribbean from low to moderate to high, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) yesterday encouraged regional tourism leaders to be ready to respond to possible importation of cases and local transmission.
At the same time, the health agency assured ministers and directors of tourism and other senior tourism officials, that while there have been no cases of local transmission – the two cases reported in St. Martin and one in the Dominican Republic were all imported – it was working closely with member countries and Caribbean coordinating partners such as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) on mechanisms to prevent further transmission from any possible imported cases.
The assurance came at COVID-19 information session for member governments coordinated by the CTO and facilitated by CARPHA. Yesterday’s session was part of the CTO’s programme of full engagement in the regional response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in collaboration with CARPHA, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Global Tourism Resilience Centre.
The CTO’s web site, www.onecaribbean.org provides updated information from member countries and links to the CARPHA site (www.carpha.org) which is monitoring the virus and providing regular, reliable updates.
The organisation is also utilising a range of sources to track the global and reported regional impact of the virus, which has affected 93,090 people in 76 countries (80,422 in China alone), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. In the meantime, travellers are advised to:
-Closely monitor www.carpha.org and www.onecaribbean.org for important information and updates
-Avoid contact with sick people.
-Avoid travelling if sick.
-Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
-Follow local authority instructions
-Stay informed about the virus situation in any country to which you are travelling