Endless Caribbean - Coronavirus and the Caribbean

Coronavirus and the Caribbean

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As the coronavirus (COVID-2019) situation continues to evolve, travellers to the Caribbean and the rest of the world are encouraged to pay attention to their health. Travellers should follow all practices and approaches put forward by the World Health Organisation, and be mindful and respectful of travel restrictions and quarantine protocols. Because information on the virus is being updated rather quickly, travellers to the Caribbean are asked to pay attention to all developments.

What is the Coronavirus?

The disease, that is now commonly known as the coronavirus, is actually one of several strains of the human coronaviruses. This new disease, which has not been seen in humans before, is also known as COVID-19 to distinguish it from other strains. Other human coronaviruses include SARS, the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome and MERS, the beta coronavirus that is also a viral respiratory illness.
COVID-19 presents itself through a number of symptoms which are characteristic of other similar respiratory diseases. Fever, cough and shortness of breath may appear after 2-14 days after exposure. According to several reputable organisations reporting on the coronavirus, the virus is mainly spread from person to person and via contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.

How Does the Coronavirus Spread?

For person to person contamination, the disease can be spread through close contact with people and also via droplets from sneezing and coughing. When droplets from an infected person land on people who are nearby, they can become infected. For person to surface or object contamination, people can become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching their body, specifically the mouth, nose and eyes.
Data shows that older adults are at higher risk for contracting the coronavirus. Additionally, people who suffer from serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, renal disease, cancer and lung disease also face higher risks of contracting the virus. As a result, family members of people who suffer from these diseases should take enhanced precautions.

Reputable Coronavirus Updates

Most of the information in this article was researched on global health organisations which are listed below. For reputable updates on the virus, travellers should follow these websites as well as their associated social media handles:

Although there are several news outlets reporting various news items about the virus, these sites are the primary sources for information about Coronovirus and the Caribbean and the rest of the world. Additionally, local tourism agencies provide up-to-date and accurate information on their websites.

Protection Against the Coronavirus

The World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control have suggested several basic measures to protect yourself against COVID-19:

1. Clean your hands frequently

Wash your hands frequently and vigorously with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. If you do not have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. This will kill viruses that may be on your hands.

2. Clean and disinfect your home and property

To remove germs, deep clean frequently touched surfaces in your home and on your person. Surfaces include tables, door knobs, appliance handles light switches, cell phones, remote controls, toilets and faucets.

3. Maintain social distancing

Keep a three foot distance (at least) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Droplets from coughing and sneezing can travel several feet. Therefore, also refrain from shaking hands, hugging and kissing people.

4. Avoid crowds

Avoid crowds and spaces with poor ventilation and situations where there may be close contact with other people. Consequently, closed-in settings with little air circulation can increase your risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

5. Avoid touching high-touch surfaces

Where possible avoid toughing high-touch services in public places such as elevator handles, door knobs, hand rails. Use a tissue to cover your hand or finger if you must touch these surfaces. However, if you do touch these surfaces, wash your hands immediately.

6. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Because your hands touch several surfaces, it is very easy to pick up viruses. Consequently, if the virus is on your hands, it can be easily transferred to the rest of your body.

7. Practice respiratory hygiene

When sneezing or coughing, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. When finished, dispose of the tissue immediately.

8. Seek medical care early

If you have a suspicious fever, cough or experience difficulty breathing, contact your doctor and seek medical attention. Follow the guidelines issued by your local medical authority.

9. Stay informed

Follow the latest developments about COVID-19 locally, regionally and globally. And, follow the guidelines issued by your health authority and employer on the coronavirus.

Suggested Coronavirus Travel Restrictions and Quarantine Protocols

As of March 06, 2020, the risk zones for COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Category 1 Risk AreasChina, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan
  • Category 2 Risk Areas: Hong Kong, Singapore; Taiwan; Thailand; Malaysia; Macau; Cambodia; Laos; Myanmar; Vietnam

To reduce the chances of compromising your health and wellness, you should pay attention to the following protocols:

  1. Postpone or cancel all business travel to risk zones and non-risk zones
  2. Postpone or cancel all personal travel to risk zones and non-risk zones
  3. If contamination occurs or if there is a suspicion of contamination, take adequate precautions to self-quarantine

Coronavirus and the Caribbean

There are a small number of coronavirus cases in the Caribbean. However, many Caribbean countries are taking several preventative measures to counteract the impact of the disease. Several international countries have been placed on restricted lists and visitors from some countries and regions have been banned temporarily.
For updates about coronavirus in the Caribbean, please visit the Caribbean Public Health Agency website.