Event: Tackling Zika in the Caribbean and Central America: A Regional Update
Date: Tuesday, 24 May 2016
Time: 15.00 – 17.15 (followed by networking)
Venue: Central London
The Caribbean Council held an informative seminar on the Zika virus in the Caribbean and Central America and what has been done to work towards a solution.
Following the rapid escalation of concerns about the spread of the Zika, the seminar focused on how it was spread, its medical aspects and the threat it poses to the region’s public health as well as the region’s economy and tourism industry.
In particular, the seminar discussed the latest science and research on Zika, the technological advances and methods to combat and prevent the spread of Zika, the various steps the regional tourism industry is taking, the regional health organisation guidance and also the support being provided by the UK to the region.
The virus is still not well understood and more research is currently being conducted by institutions all over the world. It may be some time until there is a better understanding of the virus which will enable governments to respond better to the threat and a vaccine is still some way off. All agreed however that innovative approaches were needed to address the virus and that the communications around Zika needed to be clear and proportionate to the risk. Travel advice needed to be cautious and practical but also maintain perspective, so as not to unnecessarily deter travellers to affected regions, where many of the countries’ economies depend on tourism.
The event was chaired by Baroness Hooper, President of the Central American Business Council, and we were pleased to welcome expert speakers including leading research experts on Zika, companies with innovation solutions to address the threat of Zika including Yanco and Oxitec, representatives from UK Government who spoke about cross-departmental efforts to respond to Zika and support the Caribbean and Latin America, and leaders from the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation who spoke about the impact of Zika from the Caribbean’s perspective.
We would like to thank the Wellcome Trust for kindly hosting the event.
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