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COVID-19 Background

Background

There is an ongoing outbreak of a new coronavirus called the coronavirus disease 2019 COVID-2019). It is a zoonotic virus of unknown origin that causes acute respiratory illness that can be severe. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic as the virus had spread to every region of the world and countries need to implement more direct control measures. In March 2020, the first imported case of COVID-19 was reported in the Caribbean Region. Countries in the region have scaled up their response to deal with the different pandemic phases.

Threat to the Caribbean

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that this outbreak is a pandemic). The rapidly evolving situation now requires a shift in mindset in all countries from preparedness to readiness and rapid response. CARPHA has upgraded the risk of disease transmission to the Caribbean Region to Very High. The revised risk level is based on international risk assessment guidelines, particularly in keeping with MERS-COV and pandemic influenza guidelines.

CARPHA's Response

CARPHA is working closely with CARPHA Member States (CMS) and Caribbean coordinating partners and mechanisms to respond to the threat and to prepare CMS to prevent further transmission from exported cases if they were to happen in countries. Key actions by CARPHA to date:

  • CARPHA has activated its Incident Management Team (IMT) and is coordinating the Regional preparedness and response to this new incident.
  • CARPHA has issued Situation Reports (SITREPS) to CARPHA Member States (CMS) and other regional stakeholders
  • Travellers’ guidelines have been developed and shared with stakeholders
  • Air and seaport guidelines have been disseminated 
  • Press releases have been shared with the media and other regional stakeholders
  • The Security Cluster has been activated for tracking of passengers from China through the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS)