PAHO: Trinidad and Tobago is Caribbean country most affected by covid19

PAHO Director Dr             Carissa Etienne. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle
PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Trinidad and Tobago was the country most affected by covid19 in the Caribbean during the last week, Dr Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said on Wednesday.

Etienne mentioned TT twice during PAHO's weekly virtual press conference.

“Last week, the Americas registered 1.2 million new cases and 34,000 deaths from covid19.

"In the Caribbean, TT has been the one with the highest increases in cases and deaths,” she said.

Etienne also reported TT is one of the three countries in the region with the lowest percentage of people vaccinated against covid19.

“Central America, with two million vaccinated, and the Caribbean, with less than three million, are the areas of greatest concern.

"TT, Guatemala and Honduras have only one per cent of their population immunised."

PAHO stressed that each country's priority is to control contagion with public health measures before economic problems.

"If infections are controlled, countries can relax public health measures and economies could start to recover," Etienne said.

She was critical of the differences in immunisations between developed countries and the rest.

She said the progress towards normality has been uneven, with the emergence of two worlds: “The differences are stark. In the region, only the US has more than 40 per cent of its population vaccinated. The situation is especially acute in Central America and the Caribbean."

Etienne said many more doses are urgently needed, although the US and Spain had donated 11 million vaccines between them.

"We hope the countries that have the easiest access to vaccines will take these examples and help the countries most in need."

Dr Jarbas Barbosa, PAHO deputy director, said the vaccination plan is important to advance the process of immunisation and free up spaces in hospitals.

“Chile is an example of organisation. Eighty per cent of adults over 60 have already been vaccinated, and this is a breakthrough,” he said.

Barbosa reported the Covax mechanism is working on the delivery of the fourth and fifth round of vaccines in the region in July.

Dr Sylvain Aldighieri, director of incidents for covid19, reported the C37 variant – known as the Andean variant – has already been reported in several countries in the Americas and Europe.

"It was initially registered in Chile and Peru, and the genomic surveillance teams are already working to identify any clinical changes in time," he said.


"PAHO: Trinidad and Tobago is Caribbean country most affected by covid19"

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