Health Ministers and Officials of the Region have agreed to draft an aggressive communications strategy to combat misinformation on the Novel Coronavirus.
The Council for Human and Social Development (Health) on Monday morning held an Emergency Meeting via video conference. It was Chaired by Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Antigua and Barbuda Hon Molwyn Joseph. Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, joined the meeting from the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.
Representatives of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) – all Community Institutions – as well as the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), provided updates to the Ministers and Officials in relation to a Regional Response and Guidelines for action on the Novel Corona Virus (nCoV 19). The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) also made a presentation to the meeting regarding the measures they have implemented to minimise the transmission of the disease.
The Ministers and Officials agreed that the comprehensive Communications Strategy would address misinformation about the virus, as well as provide citizens with correct information on how the situation is being addressed. The strategy will target various audiences and include information about the ways in which the virus can be prevented, transmitted and controlled.
It was also recommended at the meeting that the Region agree to a coordinated, standard approach for handling of entry to air and sea ports. Issues such as the roles and functions of personnel at the ports; transporting of samples for testing; dialogue with airlines and cruise lines; and action to be taken before, during and after an outbreak, were all discussed.
The Member States have agreed that they will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves internationally, and are on standby to meet again as required.
The CARICOM Secretariat’s Tusankine English recently interviewed Dr. Lisa Indar of CARPHA to get some fact about the Novel Coronavirus, watch the interview below to learn more.