Bartlett suggests pandemic data centres

Monday, October 16, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says the world cannot ignore the threat to tourism from pandemics.

Speaking to global government leaders and policymakers at the World Bank in Washington DC on Friday, Bartlett said that there is a need for regional pandemic data centres to help to guide effective decision making when there are crises.

A keynote speaker at a high-level, ministerial, closed-door event titled “Travel, Tourism and Outbreaks – A Pandemic Simulation”, Bartlett took note of the bank's position that tourism is one of the most vulnerable industries to external shocks, like pandemics.

“We can no longer ignore or give insufficient attention to the imminent threat of pandemics,” he told the meeting.

He stated that the best way to counter the threat of pandemics is to, among other things, develop comprehensive risk management and response systems based on reducing vulnerability, capacity building, better information, and institutional strengthening.

He said that such systems are necessary to counter some of the key challenges in responding to pandemics, which include targeted communication, balance of information between warning and assurance and cross-sectoral cooperation.

In June, the World Bank launched a “pandemic bond”, to support an emergency financing facility intended to release money quickly to fight any major health crisis.

The catastrophe bond, which will pay out depending on the size of the outbreak, its growth rate and the number of countries affected, is the first of its kind for epidemics.

Balford Henry

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