Saint Lucia is updating its influenza preparedness plans as the China coronavirus continues to spread.
The announcement has come from Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Doctor Sharon Belmar-George.
“Although the risk level for the Caribbean sub-region is currently classified as low and
the disease is at an early stage of the outbreak, the Department of Health and
Wellness is proceeding with the necessary vigilance and preparation to reduce the
possible impact on our population,” Belmar-George said.
In a statement Monday the CMO explained that the preparedness includes but is not limited to:
1. The education and sensitization of health workers, non- health stakeholders
and the general public.
2. The enhancement of the Port Health Services.
3. The active surveillance at high risk institutions (ports of entry, hotels).
4. The prompt recognition strategies– high index of surveillance for travellers
with recent history or visits to China and other affected countries.
5. Ensuring the isolation of ill cases in designated hospital isolation room/ward.
6. Establishing Diagnostic capacity through the Caribbean Public Health Agency.
7. Facilitate contact tracing and Quarantine of suspected cases.
8. The promotion of general hygiene measures and infection control for border
agencies, health care personnel and the general public.
She said in in the interim, the public is asked to continue practicing the standard
recommendations to prevent the spread of infection.
– regular hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer
where soap and water is not available.
– cover mouth and nose with disposable tissues or clothing when coughing and
– avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such
as coughing and sneezing.
– seek medical attention and share your travel history with your health care
provider if you have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during
or after travel.
As of January 25, 2020, the WHO reported a total of 1320 confirmed cases of 2019-
1,297 cases were reported from China.
Twenty- three confirmed cases have been reported outside of China in nine countries.