#PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago – October 23, 2020 – As part of its ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other public health threats, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is preparing to officially launch two important initiatives to protect the Region’s tourism sector and safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors.
Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA’s Executive Director, explained that the new tools, which will debut on November 5, 2020, are part and parcel of CARPHA’s Traveler’s Health Program (THP), which provides an early monitoring and response system to public health issues that impact tourism. The THP, set up several years ago by CARPHA, is a key outcome of a unique partnership established six years ago to bridge collaboration between health and tourism authorities aimed at safeguarding the health of travelers and employees in the hospitality industry. The Caribbean Travelers Health Assurance stamp for Healthier Safer Tourism (HST) is a measurable and verifiable recognition award for tourism entities and destinations that are implementing the recommended proactive COVID-19 health monitoring and safety measures.
“Caribbean travelers now have the added assurance of a healthier, safer option for accommodations (hotels, guesthouses) and services (transport, tour operators) awarded the HST stamp,” said Dr. St. John, who noted the stamp has been officially approved by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the region’s preeminent tourism bodies.
The public health expert explained that hospitality facilities awarded the HST stamp will be listed as preferred options on the Caribbean Traveler’s Health Mobile App. Awardees will also later be listed on the websites of CARPHA and CHTA, with links to regional and international health and tourism stakeholders.
The Caribbean Traveler’s Health Mobile App is a unique, multifaceted, health information repository, designed for travelers and health and tourism stakeholders. It provides travel health information by each Caribbean destination (inclusive of vaccination requirements, health care facilities, accommodations listings), health alerts of current public health issues, COVID-19 proactive/prevention measures, and travel requirements by country (testing, health screening, pre-approval, and tracking).
It links directly to CARPHA’s COVID-19 situation reports, guidelines, and the THP. The app also identifies accommodations and other hospitality facilities within a destination that have been awarded the Caribbean Travelers Health Assurance stamp. Dr. Lisa Indar, Director of Surveillance and Head of the THP, explained that the app will be expanded next year to include cruise ships that have been awarded the stamp.
“CARPHA is uniquely resourced and positioned to provide reliable travelers health information of this detail and magnitude,” she added, explaining that the app has been designed for both iOS and Android platforms. In addition to the stamp and the app, CARPHA’s Proactive COVID-19 Health Measures for Tourism are aimed at building travelers’ assurance, tourism resilience, and regional health security.
The measures include utilizing the Tourism and Health Information System (THiS), a web-based, early warning and response information system to capture illnesses in real time and thereby reduce spread and reputational damage; certified training in COVID-19 health measures for the hospitality sector (including testing, masks, social distancing, handwashing hygiene, sanitization, and response from visitor arrival to departure); guidelines and checklists; hospitality health, safety and environmental sanitation (HSE) operational standards. CARPHA is a global pioneer in tourism-health partnerships, having worked with tourism stakeholders in the Caribbean over the past six years on health safety, education and training matters.
Earlier this year in March, CARPHA partnered with CTO, CHTA, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission (OECS) to form the COVID-19 Tourism Task Force to launch Caribbean health, safety and sanitation guidelines and training for thousands of the Region’s tourism employees.
CARPHA PRESS RELEASE
Vessels sink with 900 barrels of fuel in Trinidad
By Shanieka Smith
#Trinidad, December 2, 2022 – The Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources in Trinidad reported on Wednesday that a ship carrying 900 barrels of diesel fuel had sunk in the Gulf of Paria. The six crew members on board were rescued and received medical assessment.
The statement revealed that the barge owned by Trinity Liftboat Services Limited was trying to demobilise Trinity Heritage Petroleum Company’s North Field when it capsized.
After receiving an SOS from a vessel in their North Field, Heritage sent out a response team. An investigation into the incident has started, however, the main focus is to redeem the barge without making any oil spills.
The owners of the sunken vessel said “there are no injuries recorded. (The vessel) now sits on the seafloor no longer posing a risk to any of Heritage Petroleum’s platforms or installations.” They said the captain made a good decision to abandon the ship so that the crew members could be rescued and transported back to base.
Digital coin created for Caribbean’s Dominica as island partners with Huobi
By Shanieka Smith
December 2, 2022 – The Commonwealth of Dominica has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, to issue its own national cryptocurrencies, Dominica Coin (DMC), and Digital Identity Documents (DID), already reports indicate a surge for the Huobi token.
This new collaboration with Dominica will bring the Caribbean one step closer to being a global cryptocurrency exchange centre. Huobi also announced its intention to move headquarters from Seychelles to the Caribbean.
It was explained, “The deal is noteworthy partly because of its connections to crypto billionaire Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain where the Caribbean island’s new token will initially reside.”
Dominica Coin (DMC) and digital identity documents (DID) will be issued by Huobi Prime via the TRON network (a project dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet); both will serve as credentials for the future metaverse platform based in Dominica. DIDs can be used for cryptocurrency Know Your Customer verification, applying for loans, and opening bank accounts on the island.
The DMC is not yet ready for launch, but The HT token is up 15% over the last 24 hours to $7.12. It’s up 40% over the past seven days.
As one of the first Caribbean islands to adopt the citizenship-by-investment policy, the Dominican government is seeking to delve into the metaverse and Web3 technology as a means to boost the country’s development.
Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose
By Dana Malcolm
December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.
Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.
“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.
Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.
“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.
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