Caribbean Public Health Agency – Coronavirus Disease (COVID -19)

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An outbreak of 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) causing severe acute respiratory illness has been reported in Wuhan, China since December 21, 2019. The virus has not been previously identified so little is known about it, including its origin. Initial cases identified, however, have been linked to Wuhan South China Seafood City (also called the South China Seafood Wholesales Market and the Hua Nan Seafood Market), where, in addition to seafood, chickens, bats, cats, marmots, and other wild animals are sold, suggesting a possible zoonotic origin to the outbreak (CDC). Confirmed cases of novel coronavirus have now been documented in other countries, with most infected persons having recently traveled to China and a few cases of person-to-person transmission being observed.

Threat to the Caribbean
On January 30, 2020, the WHO announced that this outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The rapidly evolving situation now requires a shift in mindset in all countries from preparedness to readiness and rapid response. CARPHA has upgraded the risk of disease transmission to the Caribbean Region to Very High. The revised risk level is based on international risk assessment guidelines, particularly in keeping with MERS-COV and pandemic influenza guidelines.
CARPHA’s Response

CARPHA is working closely with CARPHA Member States (CMS) and Caribbean coordinating partners and mechanisms to respond to the threat and to prepare CMS to prevent further transmission from exported cases if they were to happen in countries. Key actions by CARPHA to date:

  • CARPHA has activated its Incident Management Team (IMT) and is coordinating the Regional preparedness and response to this new incident.
  • CARPHA has issued Situation Reports (SITREPS) to CARPHA Member States (CMS) and other regional stakeholders
  • Travellers’ guidelines have been developed and shared with stakeholders
  • Air and seaport guidelines have been disseminated
  • Press releases have been shared with the media and other regional stakeholders
  • The Security Cluster has been activated for tracking of passengers from China through IMPACS


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