(CARPHA) – As at 9th January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that a 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified by Chinese authorities.
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Executive Director of CARPHA, Dr. Joy St. John said “Presently, there have been no confirmed cases or reports of the 2019-nCoV in the Caribbean region and based on current information, the immediate health risk from this virus to the general public remains low.
CARPHA is monitoring developments and working closely with its international health partners to respond to this health threat and provide timely advice and support to the preparedness activities of Caribbean Member States.”
Currently, there are no restrictions on international travel and no special precautions travellers need to take when travelling to the Caribbean since there have been no reported cases of 2019-nCoV in the Caribbean. Travellers are thus advised to:
Stay informed about the 2019-nCoV situation in any countries to which they are travelling.
Practice general infection control measures, such as frequent hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. As with any other novel and imported disease, 2019-nCoV is causing heightened concern in the Region.
CARPHA is committed to supporting its Member States in refining existing influenza preparedness plans, refreshing training of health care works in universal precautions and the use of necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), and implementing measures to protect the most vulnerable in our populations from developing the disease.
In the event that there is a suspected imported case of 2019-nCoV in the Region, CARPHA has already made arrangements with partner public health agencies for testing within the next three weeks, while we await delivery of necessary supplies.