The incoming Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has warned that the vaccine for COVID-19 will not be an immediate panacea for the ills brought upon the region by the virus.
Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago made the comments in a New Year statement.
Rowley will assume the Chairmanship of CARICOM on January 1, 2021.
He expressed the view that the regional grouping enters the New Year with renewed hope for emerging from the darkness of the past year.
“The promising light at the end of the tunnel provided by the vaccine for COVID-19 provides the possibility of relief from the health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic,” the Trinidad and Tobago leader asserted.
He recalled that the Community has signed on to the COVAX Facility and looks forward to receiving its quota of vaccines as soon as they become available in the New Year.
“However, it will not be an immediate panacea for the ills brought upon us by the virus,” Rowley observed.
“The relatively successful management of the health aspects of COVID-19 by the concerted effort of all arms of the Community – Member States, Institutions and the citizens – demonstrated without a doubt that the answer to COVID is CARICOM!” He declared.
According to Rowley, in the recovery phase, CARICOM must employ the same collective, coordinated and focussed actions that allowed the regions to control the spread of the virus.
“Chief among these is the discipline to maintain the protocols that help to avoid being contaminated. The less strain we put on the health systems will directly benefit the economic and financial situation,” he explained.