The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has managed to deal with the ongoing pandemic which occurred due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) an incredible impact, ensuring relatively less number of cases as compared to more prominent and influential parts of the international community.
It is striking to note that the CARICOM Member States have emerged among the best in the world, in their response to the pandemic in the various global reviews due to their science-based technique in containing the spread of the virus.
To achieve such success, Government of CARICOM Member States began their efforts to curb the virus since January 2020 and continued to team up on the best ways to deal with the spread. Their health Minister started a progression of Special Emergency Meetings from which a regional protocol developed consisting of the minimum standards for managing COVID-19 infection.
The work was directed by the CARICOM secretariat, Community Institutions. Their global partners led by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), the Regional Security System (RSS), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), continued to be a significant partner.
The Ministries of Health in the CARICOM States consistently developed their testing limit. The Regional Security System facilitated the transportation of their samples to CARPHA’s Trinidad and Tobago-based testing facilities that utilize the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested methods for testing, verification or authentication.
Community evidence-based response endeavours to COVID-19 were vigorously supported by day to day surveillances and modeling from George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Center at the University of the West Indies. The Centre with CARPHA worked in proximity to provide vital scientific analysis, which helped the member states to understand the processes of the ailment such as outbreak, growth rates, death, etc.
CARICOM IMPACS and CARPHA collaborated to provide virtual training to the front-line security personnel across Member States on measures of protecting themselves on duty. The training included the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the conduct of their daily responsibilities at port entry and investigation.
The training conducted in a joint effort with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiatives- Connect Programme reached more than 500 frontline officers from various security departments such as police, prisons, custom, immigration, and army. Further, CARICOM IMPACS, along with the Regional Security System joined hand to help the Member States in preventing and mitigating the spread of the virus in prisons and correctional institutions through airlifted supplies of sanitary and other COVID related supplies such as infrared thermometers, cleaning products like hand sanitizers and bleach, etc.
The Caribbean Community has also offered access to the African Union Medical Supplies Platform, a procurement system for extra supplies and equipment in the battle against COVID-19. The Platform gives quick access to African and worldwide base of manufactures and strategic procurement partners at a competing cost.
Going ahead, CARPHA, through its Tourism/travellers and Health Program, has initiated training sessions in the tourism sector. The programme aimed at restoring visitor’s confidence in the region’s travel industry products. It has likewise published other guidelines to help in assisting reopening Member states, including Interim Guidance for Domestic Workers and an Interim Guidance record on Resuming Office Operations.
Another welcoming step came from the World Bank with immediate support for COVID-19 response activities. The World Bank announced that an initial package of $12 billion would be available as prompt support to assist nations dealing with the health and economic impact due to the outbreak of a pandemic. The Bank has taken the financing step with intend to help the member states to make a viable move to respond to and to lessen the awful effects of the coronavirus. The World Bank further expressed that the new fast track package will help the developing nations fortify their healthcare system which includes better accessibility of health service for protecting people from the pandemic, reinforce ailment surveillance, assist public health intervention and also to work with the private sector to diminish the impacts on economics. It affirmed that the Ministry of Health along with the Ministry of Finance would work to formulate a pertinent proposal for submission of the funding.