PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Trinidad and Tobago has called for a meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders to discuss a coordinated response to the public health threats posed by the Ebola and Chikungunya viruses.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, responding to an advisory issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) said Port of Spain would be willing to host the meeting.
“My advice to colleague Heads of Government in the Caribbean is to take pre-emptive measures to ensure the safety, health and well-being of millions of citizens of the Caribbean region. While our risk is low, our actions must further diminish the risks to our citizens. And I am confident that nations across CARICOM will respond favourably,” she said.
“The meeting will feature discussions geared towards orchestrating a plan of action in response to the increasing number of cases of Chikungunya in the Caribbean and the prevention of the Ebola virus disease,” according to a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, adding that it would also “be instrumental in CARICOM’s stance, together with the rest of the global community in the fight against these life threatening viruses.
It said furthermore, CARICOM must address international decisions made which will undoubtedly affect the region’s tourism industry.
So far, the Caribbean has not recorded any cases of the Ebola virus that has caused a number of deaths in Africa, but many regional countries have reported cases of the mosquito borne Chikungunya virus.