Despite a low record of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean region is forecast to experience a surge in cases and deaths in the coming weeks.
This is according to the World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for the Americas, Dr Carissa Etienne who made the disclosure recently.
She said while it is difficult to forecast the direct impact the pandemic will have on each country in the region, studies have shown that the virus will continue to spread rapidly if precautionary measures are not adhered to.
“In just seven days, we’ve witness cases and deaths more than doubling. The pandemic is accelerating rapidly and I urge governments to prepare and respond at the same speed,” Dr Etienne said in an April 7 statement.
She added: “Within the assessments and analysis that we’ve been able to make, we do believe that within the next month or so – three to six weeks – that many of our countries will begin to see an increase in the number of cases. There are some of our countries that will experience an overwhelming of their health systems and we will also see an increase number of deaths.”
Dr Etienne, who is also the Director of the Pan American Health Organization, further explained the variables which would determine the level of impact the virus would have on a given country.
“All of this depends on how well our member states execute their social distancing. If they are going to continue with social distancing methodologies — whether we have sufficient workers — we will have sufficient beds to manage critically-ill patients, and will we have something as basic as ventilators and PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment),” she stated.
Call for solidarity between governments
Dr Etienne called for solidarity between governments in the region to share resources and experiences so all can achieve the common goal of exiting the pandemic with minimal impact.
Up to publication time, the region reportedly recorded a little more than 6,002 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 318 deaths and 623 recoveries.
The British Virgin Islands currently has three confirmed case. Of that number, two have unofficially recovered and are awaiting secondary testing results from the Caribbean Public Health Organisation in Trinidad.
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