CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC):
Leaders from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are to consider several recommendations aimed at helping the subregion deal with the impact of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OEC Commission here has said.
It said that the leaders of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, will hold their 71st meeting later this month.
According to a statement issued by the commission on Friday, the recommendations were made during an extraordinary virtual meeting earlier this week to discuss the Omicron variant and its impact on the subregion.
The commission said that the meeting had received “critical updates on the impact, concerns and needs in education, tourism and the economy” and that the ministers present, as well as the chief medical officers and other stakeholders “had the opportunity to engage in discussion on the issues raised, and provided some critical recommendations for consideration by the OECS Heads of Government during the 71st Meeting of the OECS Authority to be held later this month”.
The virtual meeting considered public health protocols, relevant supplies, and health system capacities in light of the experiences already seen “in other parts of the globe”.
OECS Director General Dr Didacus Jules, who chaired the meeting, expressed the need for all stakeholders to be agile and proactive in the fight against the pandemic.
He also called for a multisectoral approach to increase the effectiveness of our interventions and reinforced support for the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) , as the leading public health agency in the regional efforts.
“Every sector, public and private, every business, every community, every family and every individual should be aware of, prepare for, and continue to take appropriate action during this wave, because together is the best way for us to face this challenge, minimise fallout and continue to thrive,” Jules said.
A statement issued by the commission noted that the meeting was attended by tourism, health and education ministers from the nine-member OECS as well as representatives from CARPHA, The Caribbean Tourism Organisation, The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, The Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Guyana-based Caribbean Community Secretariat.
It said that CARPHA’s executive director, Dr Joy St John, provided the meeting with a presentation “on the realities of the pandemic with the introduction of the new variant, and provided some key recommendations to help tackle the virus across sectors”.
The statement quoted the OECS director-general as providing the commitment of the commission “to effect appropriate action and to mobilise resources to assist all member states in our continued collaboration in addressing COVID-19”.