PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean countries, Dr. Yitades Gebre, (left) speaking at this morning’s presentation of supplies while Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley; Senior Political Advisor, High Commission Canada, Jessica Mackie; and other officials look on. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Barbadians are being reminded that everyone has a role to play in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

This reminder came from PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean countries, Dr. Yitades Gebre, who said each person must equip themselves with the right information; use it to assess risks, and make the best decisions to protect themselves and their communities.

Dr. Gebre made the comments earlier today at the Grantley Adams International Airport, after Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley had accepted surgical and N95 masks for CARICOM, which was donated by WHO/Jack Ma Foundation. The supplies were brought in by a Canadian Armed Forces flight.

He told those gathered, including Ms. Mottley: “Barbados and Eastern Caribbean countries have shown that with sustained political leadership and action, backed by the community and people’s support, COVID-19 can be suppressed, no matter the stage and transmission phase. As you have illustrated in many global fora, moral leadership, prioritising of vulnerable population, whole of government and whole of society approaches are among the key principles to fight this virus.”

Dr. Gebre said the international organisation was committed to collaborating with national governments and leaders, health authorities and developmental partners to remain vigilant in the face of the persistent threat that COVID-19 poses during the recovery phase and beyond.

He pointed out that the coordination for the donation was made possible via the UN COVID-19 supply chain system, with the delivery and logistics support of the Government of Canada and the UN World Food Program.  

He explained that the delivery was part of a larger global effort to respond to ongoing urgent needs, including those of the Americas, CARICOM countries and small island developing states.

Dr. Gebre noted that currently, over 165 candidate vaccines were at some stage of development.  Of that number, he stated, 25 vaccine candidates were in human trial, and three or four were going into phase three trials.

Senior Political Advisor, High Commission Canada, Jessica Mackie, said Canada was very proud to provide airlift support in response to the humanitarian community’s request for transport of critical humanitarian and medical supplies in the fight against the pandemic.

“The Canadian Armed Forces are operating out of a humanitarian logistical hub at Panama Pacifico Airport.  This deployment … is aimed at utilising military assets to facilitate the movement of critical supplies, given unprecedented supply chain disruptions. Canada is proud to contribute in a meaningful way to ensure that medical and humanitarian supplies get to where they are most needed,” Mrs. Mackie stated.

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