CTO says Caribbean still open for business

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos–

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) says the region remains open for business, despite the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has touched more than 100 countries, including some in the Caribbean.

In a statement issued last Thursday, the CTO said it continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and to engage member countries, as well as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and tourism partners, to inform travel-related health measures that are proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment.

And it noted that while there continues to be a limited number of imported cases and no cases of local transmission in the region, the health authorities across its membership are taking the necessary steps to limit the number of new cases and to curb the possible spread among our populations from the confirmed imported cases.

However, the statement added, “the CTO would like to emphasize that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not called for any travel and trade restrictions as a result of the coronavirus.”

“As a matter of fact, the WHO continues to advise against such restrictions. Local populations and visitors alike are assured that the Caribbean remains open for business,” the Barbados-based CTO said.

The organization has advised travelers to follow the health and travel advisories issued by the authorities and to take appropriate precautions, such as:

Avoiding contact with sick people;

Avoiding travelling if sick;

Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;

Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;

Covering your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene;

Refraining  from touching mouth and nose;

And following proper food hygiene practices

COVID-19 cases, which have surpassed 118,000 globally, have been confirmed in Jamaica, St Vincent, Guyana, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Martinique, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy.