GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday February 5, 2020 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chairman and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has sought to assure citizens of the region that health officials are taking the steps to keep the deadly new strain of coronavirus out of their countries, but also ensuring they are ready should it reach their shores.
CARICOM Ministers of Health were on Monday briefed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) on the virus, and Mottley said the meeting also focused on the region’s preparedness in case of any eventuality.
As of today, 24,604 cases have been confirmed with 494 deaths.
“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,” Mottley said, adding that going into panic mode could cause the region’s economies and societies to implode.
She said CARICOM will take an evidence-based approach that 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,” Mottley said.
“I look forward to a report within the next few days from the ASG [Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM] 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 noted that while any country is free to do what it wants, with the single domestic space that exists in CARICOM, governments must work together.