A regional protocol establishing minimum standards for dealing with the COVID19 virus was agreed to by CARICOM Heads of Government and Ministers of Health on Sunday in Barbados.
CARICOM says the protocol is critical to avoid an outbreak of panic and fear in the Region.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Health Minister Dr. Irving Mc Intyre and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Letitia Lestrade-Wyke attended an emergency meeting that set up a special sub-committee to work with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the cruise industry.
The committee is expected to open lines of communication, fast-track testing for the deadly virus, and place regional governments in a better position to test, quarantine or treat any future infections.
Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, emphasized the leaders were prepared to protect the Region’s “vital national and regional interest at all times.”
Cases of Covid-19 have now been registered on the islands of St Martin and St Barts, both in the northern Caribbean, but English-speaking nations remain infection-free.
The Protocol also defines roles and responsibilities of all parties and seeks to ensure that there is effective communications between CARICOM governments and the cruise line industry with respect to decisions so that there is common understanding.
The cruise industry officials confirmed that they have been doing their part in screening passengers and stated they were willing to work with the established protocol.