Jamaica Commended by PAHO for Successful COVID-19 Management

Washington, D.C., 12 October 2018 (PAHO/WHO) — Dr. Jarbas Barbosa of Brazil, was sworn in today as the new Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). Via PAHO/WHO

Jamaica is among three countries that have been commended by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) for its efforts in reducing the spread of COVID-19 through contact tracing mechanisms.

Speaking at PAHO’s weekly press briefing yesterday, Assistant Director Dr Jarbas Barbosa named Jamaica, along with Costa Rica and Argentina, for doing “particularly well” with this aspect of the prevention and control machinery, against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Contact tracing must be part of all response plans and should be adjusted according to the pattern of transmission – from sporadic cases, to clusters, to community transmission,” said Barbosa.

“Argentina, Costa Rica, and Jamaica are just a few countries that are doing this particularly well,” he said.

He said that contact tracing can reduce the spread of the virus.

“We are recognising them in order to share their efforts. There are other countries that are doing the best that they can. They have mobilised their resources [and] they are fighting against an unprecedented public health crisis,” he said.

The island’s Ministry of Health and Wellness has still been heavily engaged in contact tracing, despite the island entering the community transmission phase of COVID-19 in September.

Over the last month, Jamaica has seen a drastic decline in the COVID-19 transmission rate, along with an increased number of recoveries. On November 11, the island recorded only eight new COVID-19 cases, the lowest number of one-day reported cases since early August.

The decline in cases has given some hope to Jamaicans across the diaspora who hope to enjoy a semi-normal Christmas on the island this year.

Barbosa also made note that smaller Caribbean countries have done exceptionally well, establishing robust disease surveillance systems that can detect rises in COVID cases.

“Thanks to strong laboratory surveillance systems, Caribbean countries have been disciplined about imposing restrictions and tightening public health measures when there have been new infections, while also keeping tourism afloat,” he said.

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