Guyana, other Caribbean countries advised to reinforce surveillance for deadly coronavirus

As Guyana’s Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) office here prepare to next week brief Guyanese about the emergence of a 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on Thursday advised health authorities in Guyana and other Caribbean states to be vigilant against the contagious disease.

Executive Director of CARPHA, Dr Joy St. John said in light of imported cases have been reported by other countries including Thailand, Republic of Korea and the United States of America (USA), and in light of the recently-confirmed case of the virus in the US, CARPHA has issued advice to health authorities on measures to reduce the risk of importation of the disease to the Caribbean region, as well as advice to Caribbean travellers in the affected area in China.

“CARPHA is aware that this is an early stage of the outbreak and is awaiting clarity on the characterisation of the behaviour of the virus, including severity of the infection, and the level of transmissibility. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, CARPHA is recommending that Member States be proactive and vigilant. They must reinforce surveillance measures at points of entry, communication strategies which emphasize good hand hygiene, and measures targeted at reducing the importation of this new virus to our shores,” stated Dr. St John.

Dr St. John notes that so far the risk to the region is low.


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