Regional leaders agree on 10-point plan to deal with Ebola and Chikunguyna viruses
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders concluded a special summit on Tuesday, agreeing to a 10-point plan to deal with the outbreak of the Chikunguyna virus and any possible incident of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa.
"Heads of government expressed considerable concern, not just in relation to the possible health impact of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), but also about the disruption a single case could cause in the economic and social life of the region," CARICOM Chairman Gaston Browne told a news conference.
Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said the regional leaders had also emphasised that the response to the diseases "must be a Community effort" and that "no member state of CARICOM must battle these public health challenges on its own".
Browne told reporters the region's responses to the two public-health challenges are being coordinated by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and that the meeting here accepted that the likelihood of "penetration of the Ebola virus in the region is low, based on the low level of traffic from affected areas.
He added that while there have been no reported cases of EVD in the region, the 17th special meeting of regional leaders "urged the strengthening of the regional public-health capacity to confront the possibility of an outbreak of Ebola and any other future public-health challenges".