Tuesday 27 October, 2020

PAHO urges countries to be cautious about international travel

The Caribbean is continuing to experience a surge in the coronavirus.  

PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne stated this during a media conference today where she said nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas were reported in the last two weeks. 

With that said, the PAHO Director addressed the pressing issue of the resumption of non-essential international travel in the region.  

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Dr Etienne said resuming travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 and countries must take a cautious approach to mitigate the risk of importing and exporting the virus.  

Noting that the COVID-19 situation is unique in each country the PAHO Director said it must be evaluated in that context before governments decide to resume travel.  

Countries will have to:  

  • Continuously monitor the capacity of the health system to ensure it is equipped to handle any surge in cases.  

  • Be selective in authorising incoming international connections based on the epidemiological situation of the origin country.  

  • Establish a system to encourage social distancing at airports.  

  • Establish a strong system for contact tracing so health of international travellers can be monitored during the first 14 days in the country.  

Dr Etienne stressed that managing the risk of resuming travel is a shared responsibility between countries in the region, between levels of government and among individual travellers who must adhere to hygienic measures.  

 

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