The Governor of the St Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine, on Wednesday said that the financial institution is prepared to provide assistance to its member countries to deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has so far killed more than 3,000 people globally.
Antoine told a news conference that systems have been put in place to assist the eight-member countries of the bank to acquire the necessary equipment to deal with the virus for which there is no known vaccine.
“Our region is now at high risk for this virus.”— Timothy Antoine
“We are very concerned about the incidence of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, which as you know is now in the Caribbean, and CARPHA, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, has indicated that our region is now at high risk for this virus,” he said.
“The immediate focus of the Central Bank is to support our member countries with their capacity to detect, which means testing and also to prevent, contain. So we have said to our member countries that the ECCB is ready with their approval to help with providing equipment and the requisite medical technology to ensure that we can do effective testing in the countries.”
He said that only Dominica so far within the sub-region has the capacity to test for the virus “and we want to ensure all our member countries…have the capacity”.
The ECCB serves as a central bank for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands.