The COVID-19 coronavirus has been contained in the English-speaking Caribbean and Haiti, a leading UWI researcher declared today.
But the researcher, Professor Clive Landis, pro-vice-chancellor for undergraduate studies and research, and professor of cardiovascular research at UWI Cave Hill who also chairs the UWI COVID-19 task force, said the development does not mean that the Caribbean is out of danger.
Professor Landis, who appeared on this week’s Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) podcast, COVID-19: The Unwelcome Visitor, led the research into the progress of the virus in the 15-member Caribbean Community, as well as the British overseas territories in the region.
He said: “The bottom line for the whole Caribbean is that the Caribbean has avoided the kind of outbreak, the kind of epidemic that we’ve seen in many European countries…and north America. We’ve avoided that.
“When you look at the growth trajectories, they are basically flat [in virtually all the countries].”
But the UWI scientist insisted that containment does not mean the virus has been wiped out in the region, adding that the Caribbean will have to learn to live with the threat for another year.
He said: “I want to stress that when you have achieved containment… you are looking to find cases in clusters and having a cluster, there’s nothing wrong with that. That actually shows you are doing your surveillance. We map how each Caribbean country has done from the first case and we can say quite confidently that these countries have achieved containment.”
Before opening borders to international travel, Caribbean destinations should have public health nurses who are trained in detecting acute respiratory illnesses in every hotel and all areas of potential risk, he suggest.
Landis also outlined criteria for determining whether the disease has reached its peak in each Caribbean country, the projections for the region and the future of travel, which he said will likely include immunity passports and health certificates.
The CTO podcast is available at www.anchor.fm/onecaribbean, Spotify and the CTO’s Facebook page, among other podcast platforms.
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