WHO removes C'bean region from Zika virus classification

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The World Health Organisation (WHO) has removed its Zika virus country classification scheme from countries in the region.

The scheme had categorised most of the Caribbean territories as having active Zika virus transmission.

This removal of the mosquito-borne virus by the WHO comes on the heels of data released by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), giving evidence that the Zika virus transmission in the Caribbean had been interrupted for over 12 months, or was at undetectable levels, thereby posing very little risk to residents and visitors to the region. “This was matched by data shared with CARPHA by Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States of America, which showed that no Zika had been detected for over 12 months in travellers returning from the Caribbean to their countries,” CARPHA noted in a statement.

This evidence was used by Caricom to pen a letter to the WHO Director-General calling for the immediate reclassification of CARPHA Member States from Category 1 — having active Zika transmission, to Category 3 — having no Zika transmission, arguing that the classification system had outlived its useful purpose.

According to CARPHA's Executive Director, Dr C James Hospedales, the Zika classification was not only having an adverse impact on the Caribbean, but it was also against the tenets of the International Health Regulations (IHR).

“This adverse impact was confirmed by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), who made a formal request to CARPHA for the Agency's intervention,” he said.

“The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world. It is also one of the most popular honeymoon destinations worldwide and ongoing cancellations due to the classification of most Caribbean countries as Category 1 is hurting the industry unnecessarily. Therefore, CARPHA felt compelled to provide the evidence and to advocate for the removal of this WHO Zika classification system,” Hospedales added.

CARPHA the sole regional public health agency has pledged to continue to work with Member States “to ensure that the Caribbean is capable of preventing, detecting and responding to public health threats affecting the region.”

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT