Caribbean tourism and health specialists are preparing “readiness and response” measures to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency has upgraded the risk of coronavirus disease transmission from “low” to “moderate to high” due to an increased risk of importation of Covid-19 to the region.

A task force of tourism chiefs and hotel organisations has been set up although there has been no local spread of the virus in the Caribbean.

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The Covid-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force includes the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Caribbean Tourism Organisation and the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre.

A statement said: “Recognising the essential need to safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 threat to the Caribbean; and further recognising the importance of building upon the collaborative efforts which are already underway, and the need to pool organisational resources to do so; we have agreed to formalise our efforts and messaging.”

The organisations acknowledged concerns about the high level of misunderstanding about the virus which has “elevated the panic at the global level and resulted in the dissemination of a high level of misinformation”.

The task force will focus on raising awareness and sharing accurate information; strengthen monitoring at airports, ports and hotels.

The statement added: “Tourism is the lifeblood of the Caribbean so we’ve come together as organisations already engaged in readiness programs to pool resources so we can ensure the people of our region, and our visitors, remain safe from this viral threat.

“Our ability to quickly contain any outbreak will be determined by how efficiently we can pool information and capacities – this agreement allows us to plan for an emergency and move our resources rapidly.”

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Posted by Travel Weekly UK on Wednesday, March 4, 2020