Caribbean Region: Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr Carissa Etienne on Wednesday asks the Caribbean leaders to prioritize and speed up the COVID-19 testing(Rapid Antigen Testing) for the individuals who are having symptoms of the viral disease as well as to those who are at the brink of contracting COVID.
“The leaders of the Caribbean and Latin American region must expand their testing at the community level to reduce pressure on hospitals, which are working overtime,” Dr Etienne highlighted, adding that around 7.2 million additional COVID-19 cases were recorded in the region in the previous week.
Following the statement, she further underscored that as the Omicron is spreading fats in the region, at the present time, enough COVID-19 tests are not being conducted in the countries, which she noted that this issue would continue for a while.
“Slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus will need every tool in our arsenal – vaccines, social distancing, mask-wearing, avoiding large gatherings, and testing,” the Director of PAHO added.
Dr Etienne furthermore emphasized that every nation in the region has the ability, equipments, and resources to conduct and speed up the testing drive. She then added that in the Americas, PAHO is currently having a web of over 32 laboratories, which assist the countries in detecting and tracing the COVID-19 virus.
Utilizing their own funds, PAHO to date received over 42 million RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests for around 36 nations. The health organization, from its stockpile, deployed around ten million RT-PCR diagnostics & 2.8 million rapid antigen tests.
The Director cited, “Countries can and should take advantage of these agreements by purchasing diagnostic tests through our Strategic Fund,” while further encouraging the individuals to come forward and receive their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and follow the health protocols and guidelines.
Meantime, as per the data shared by PAHO, at least 60% of Latin America and the Caribbean are fully immunized.