According to a leading researcher and academic, COVID-19 has been contained in the English-speaking Caribbean and Haiti.
However, Dr. Clive Landis, pro-vice-chancellor for undergraduate studies and research, and professor of cardiovascular research at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill campus in Barbados, and the chairman of the UWI COVID-19 task force, makes it abundantly clear that this doesn’t mean that the Caribbean is out of danger.
Landis, who led the research into the progress of the virus in the 15-member Caribbean Community, as well as the British overseas territories, was a guest on a recent Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) podcast, COVID-19: The Unwelcome Visitor.
He said that: “The bottom line for the whole Caribbean is that the Caribbean has avoided the kind of outbreak, the kind of epidemic that we’ve seen in many European countries … and north America. We’ve avoided that.”
And he added: “When you look at the growth trajectories, they are basically flat [in virtually all the countries].”
But the UWI researcher also emphasizes that containment does not mean the virus has been wiped out in the region, adding that the Caribbean will have to learn to live with its threat for another year.
Said Landis: “I want to stress that when you have achieved containment … you are looking to find cases in clusters and having a cluster, there’s nothing wrong with that. That actually shows you are doing your surveillance. We map how each Caribbean country has done from the first case and we can say quite confidently that these countries have achieved containment.”
And he advised that before opening their borders to international travel, every Caribbean destination should have public health nurses who are trained in detecting acute respiratory illnesses in every hotel and all areas of potential risk.
In the recent podcast — www.anchor.fm/onecaribbean, Spotify and the CTO’s Facebook page — Landis addressed a range of subjects including what countries must look for in order to determine whether or not they’ve reached their peak, the projections for the region and the future of travel, which he says will likely include immunity passports and health certificates.
Go to www.OneCaribbean.org