Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Timothy Antoine has raised concerns over the incidents of the coronavirus present in the Caribbean.
“We are very concerned over the incidents of the Novel Coronavirus which as we know is now in the Caribbean,” he said.
He was speaking during a press conference held in the ECCB Agency office at the Financial Centre in Roseau yesterday.
Reports coming from various media have indicated that the Dominican Republic has confirmed its first case of coronavirus from an Italian tourist, according to a Reuters report.
Meanwhile, the French Agency, French-Passe (AFP) have reported confirmed cases in St. Barthélemy and French Saint Martin. The cases were confirmed by the Institute Pasteur Laboratory of Guadeloupe which is conducting tests for the virus.
According to Antoine, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has indicated that the Caribbean region is at high risk in respect of the disease.
He stated that the immediate focus on the central bank is to support the number of countries with the capacity to detect and also to prevent.
“It is a very serious situation which we are paying much attention to,” he stated.
Antoine continued, “The ECCB is ready with their approval to help with providing equipment and the requisite medical technology to ensure that we can do effective testing in the country.”
He went on to say that recently the ECCB understood that Dominica was the only country in the ECCU that has the testing capacity for the coronavirus.
“We want to ensure that all of our member countries, all 8 had the capacity,” Antoine stated. “Because if you have sent it to Trinidad or some other country outside of the region there is going to be a delay, so you want to speed that up so you can establish status…”
Beyond that he said the ECCB stands ready to provide support if required from any member countries or financial institution.
Furthermore he said the ECCB continues to monitor the development very closely.
“We are very mindful that the health issue it has implications for the economy,” he indicated.
Antoine pointed out that in the event someone gets sick and has to stay home that will affect the business as well as the productivity and output of the country.
He highlighted some of the best defense mechanisms for the virus which include; no hand shaking and hugging, proper handwashing, boosting up our immune system and persons who are sick are advised to stay away from the office to prevent the spread.