UWI establishes COVID-19 task force

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UWI establishes COVID-19 task force

Friday, February 28, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— The University of the West Indies (UWI) says it is launching a task force to assist with the mobilisation of the region's public health providers to deal with the current threat of COVID-19.
The task force will be chaired by UWI Professor Clive Landis, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies and former Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, who has considerable experience in the field of Caribbean public health, the university said in a statement today.

“It is right that The UWI should deploy its full expertise as a public academy to help Caribbean communities cope at this instance of the COVID-19 epidemic.The primary emphasis of the COVID-19 task force will be to provide accurate and reliable information through UWItvand other channels of communication. Armed with good information and strong partnerships we will get through this viral outbreak as we did for 'swine flu', Chikungunya and Zika before it,”Professor Landis was quoted as saying.

The university said it is currently delivering a software engineering degree programme at its joint Institute in Suzhou, China, and has a large registered cohort of Caribbean students. It is engaged directly with public health officials in Suzhou, Caribbean diplomatic corps in Beijing, and the leadership of its partner university, the Global Institute for Software Engineering (GIST).

“Against the background of dealing with its internal affairs in China, The UWI has been working in close collaboration with regional health ministries and the relevant CARICOM agencies,” Vice-Chancellor of UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles stated. The purpose, he added, is to “provide the necessary scientific data on the virus and to work with government colleagues in creating an effective communications strategy for the region.”

“The Task Force will have a critical role to play in solutions building in the immediate future”.
Membership of the task force is drawn from the regional UWI medical faculties and external experts experienced in the laboratory and field deployment of an active scientific approach, the university said.

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