The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, warned Caribbean countries this Saturday that they must be prepared for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
"They have handled the first wave of the pandemic very well. Overall, they have been able to stop the transmission, they have contained it and that is very good, however the challenge now is that they need to move to ease some of the blockade," Etienne said. .
The official, born in Dominica and a doctor by profession, spoke this Saturday on Dominica state radio DBS Radio and assured that the way in which regional countries handle the situation in the future "will be extremely important" in order to face that second wave of the virus.
"The way they handle tourism, their soul, is going to be very, very important, as well as they will carry out the opening of their borders for visitors," he said, adding, "What is required is that we strengthen our ability to detect cases (COVID-19). "
Etienne said that while he trusts that the Caribbean "has that ability" to detect cases, it would also need to be equally capable of "isolating them and tracking contact, in addition to quarantining those infected."
"Those are the public health measures that many of the islands in the Caribbean have to face. Surveillance will be extremely important," Etienne said.
Caribbean countries are slowly moving to reopen their economies and borders in the wake of the pandemic.
Jamaica remains the only country in the Caribbean Community (Caricom) where the infection rate is over 500.
Many Caribbean countries, including Dominica, have reported no new positive cases of the virus in recent days.
Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas and Bermuda, like other regional countries, reported deaths associated with the virus that was first detected in China last December.