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Ministry of Health expands community COVID-19 screening in partnership with Private Health Care Clinics 

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#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2021 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services is pleased to inform the general public that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with all local Private Health Care Clinics to provide free community screening for COVID-19 in their clinics using lateral flow devices (rapid antigen tests). This initiative is to increase accessibility to testing in the TCI for COVID-19 in order to gain a better understanding of COVID-19 in the community and ultimately inform public health decisions. The MOH has provided lateral flow devices for use in the private sector and will continue to support this activity on an ongoing basis. Please note that these results will not be issued for travel purposes as this initiative is for screening purposes only.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the TCI continues to decline, however, in order to build on this progress, early detection of cases is needed to prevent disease spread, coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign. As the number of visitors to the Islands continue to increase, we must remain vigilant for any shift in the TCI’s COVID-19 position.
The general public is encouraged to contact their health care provider for routine screening of COVID-19 and/or access community testing by the Primary Health Care Department which is available at no cost on a scheduled basis throughout the islands.
The public is reminded of the COVID-19 Health Protocols:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 feet between persons
  • Wear face coverings in public settings (covering both your nose and mouth)
  • Avoid mass gatherings or crowds
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or use disposable tissues
  • Comply with public health measures
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 which include; cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell-please stay home and contact the Health Hotlines on 232 9444 or 333 0911
  • Do not visit health care facilities if you have symptoms or signs of COVID-19, call the Health Hotlines for guidance unless your symptoms are severe.
  • If you are under quarantine by the Public Health Team, please remain at home and comply with the guidance provided to you.
  • If you are contacted by the Public Health Team as a part of contact tracing activities, please provide all of the information requested to assist them in their investigations
  • Get tested on a regular basis so that you can know your status. Free testing is available across the islands. The schedule is published by the MOH on a monthly basis.
  • Stay informed with the latest information from the Ministry of Health by visiting our website on https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus/
Consult with your healthcare provider regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and register online;

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Bahamas News

Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

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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Health

Chinese Gov’t relenting on strict COVID Zero lockdowns

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#China, December 2, 2022  – Just days after the country experienced a record amount of Covid-19 cases, mainland China will ease some of its restrictions.  Mass protests which are extremely rare for the nation broke out last week all across the country as residents tired and frustrated by the weeks of severe lockdowns and upset over a deadly fire clashed with riot police. Residents’ escape from the fire which killed 10 people may have been delayed because of Covid-19 protocols, Chinese officials deny the claims but citizens are not convinced.

It has sparked what international media is calling the white paper revolution.  Residents afraid of being arrested under the country’s extreme censorship laws are holding up blank pieces of white paper as a symbol for the things they are not allowed to vocalize Vice Premier Sun Chunlan quickly released a statement about COVID weakening as the protests quelled and restrictions were lifted according to Reuters.

“The country is facing a new situation and new tasks in epidemic prevention and control as the pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakens, more people are vaccinated and experience in containing the virus is accumulated,” she said

As of November 30th most areas in Shanghai and Guangzhu specifically have been released from lockdown despite the rising cases as tensions overflowed in the business and the manufacturing cities respectively. Earlier this year officials put Shanghai under quarantine for what was supposed to be a single week, residents ended up locked at home for two months.

Since the beginning of the Pandemic China has employed a ZERO COVID policy, whether that will continue as protocols loosen is yet to be seen.

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Government Strengthens Response to Substance Use Among Youth

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#Jamaica, December 2, 2022 – Jamaica is putting robust measures in place to address the use of harmful substances among young people.

State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn,  said that the objective is to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the negative impact of substance use.

She pointed out that the introduction and popularity of new substances and ease of access among youngsters “are cause for major concern”, and it is imperative that robust strategies be implemented to address the problem.

In detailing the measures during a National Forum on Youth Drug Use on Wednesday (November 30), the State Minister said that a clause-by-clause analysis of the Tobacco Control Bill, 2020 is ongoing, and decisions concerning a National Harmful Alcohol Policy are in motion.

Additionally, she informed that plans are in the works for a National Drug Prevalence Survey.

“This is part of efforts to assess the use of new and emergent psychoactive substances, including molly, across the population. We are also looking towards the updating of the National School Policy on Substance Use,” the State Minister said at the forum held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel.

She noted that the efforts involve the Ministry of Education and Youth.

The State Minister said that the scale-up of the drug prevention and treatment programme of the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) will form a critical part of the response.

“Substance abuse is also to be woven into Jamaica’s Mental Health Strategic Plan. Protecting the health and well-being of all Jamaicans remains the principal mandate of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and it will continue to support the work of the NCDA as it plays its role in fulfilling this mission,” she said.

The forum consisted of representatives from several State agencies and

civil society partners, who engaged in discussions surrounding substance use among the youth, explored areas for further partnership and capacity-building, and shared best practice interventions for the target group.

November was observed as Drug Abuse Month, and the NCDA convened a series of town hall meetings and a school tour to engage with the young people, parents, caregivers and other stakeholders to intensify a national conversation around safeguarding Jamaicans from harmful use of substances.

“I applaud the outstanding team at the NCDA for their efforts in highlighting the troubles related with substance use, accompanying interventions and work towards policy shift. The public health system remains grateful for the agency’s work,” Mrs. Cuthbert-Flynn said.

 

Contact: Garfield L. Angus

Release: JIS

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