Piper said the safety of Dominicans is a primary concern

Piper said the safety of Dominicans is a primary concern

Chief Executive Officer of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) and Chairman of the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC), Colin Piper, said several measures have been put in place for artistes coming from Africa to perform at the World Creole Music Festival.

This as concerns continue to spread among Dominicans about the deadly disease Ebola, which is affecting some parts of Africa.

According to Piper, two musical groups from Africa are expected to perform at the event carded for October 24 -26.

He was speaking at a press conference organized to address the Ebola situation on Wednesday.

According to Piper, members of one of the groups have not traveled to Africa in recent times.

“We have requested information on their recent travel and have been advised that none of the musicians have traveled to the African continent over the past two to three months,” Piper said. “We will, however, require that each musician does a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and walk with the results so we can have that reviewed by our medical personnel upon arrival.”

The PCR is a technique that is used to amplify trace amounts of DNA (and in some instances, RNA) located in, or on, almost any liquid or surface where DNA strands may be deposited. That technique is used for detecting diseases.

“We will be requesting that immigration officers can review their passports along the way to ensure that there are in fact no stamps showing entry into any of the affected areas by any of the musicians on the way, ” Piper said.

Additionally, he noted, the Nigerian group expected to perform in Dominica left Nigeria on October 6 to perform in Dubai and will be there for two weeks.

“Currently the plan is to return to Nigeria for one or two days before traveling to Dominica,” he noted. “During that time we will request that they also undergo PCR check as well.”

He said the group is expected to depart from Lagos, Nigeria on the October 22, via Air France to Paris and from Paris to St Maarten and then onward to Dominica on October 23.

Piper pointed out that at the port of departure in Lagos, Nigeria, all travelers must take temperature checks and anyone measuring over 38.5 degrees Celsius is not allowed to travel.

“That is one of the measures taken by the departing countries,” he said.

According to reports, Nigeria was hit with Ebola after Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-born American, brought the deadly virus to Lagos when he flew there on July 20. However, the country acted quickly and has now been officially declared Ebola free. Nigeria has now become a case study on how Ebola can be contained, according to USA Today.

Piper also noted that screening for incoming artistes will be done at both of Dominica’s airport by the ministry of health.

He stated further that the African musicians are in fact aware of country’s concerns and have indicated their willingness to undergo any screenings to ensure that everything is in place

“Our primary concern is for the safety of our citizens…,” Piper remarked.

Meanwhile, Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer Ferdinia Carbon said in response to the international Ebola threat, government has strengthened its presence at various ports of entry on the island.

“As we know we are concerned about trans-boundary movement of the disease and we know if the disease is to come to Dominica, it will come to us through our ports of entry,” Carbon said.

She said a shift system have been established at the Melville Hall Airport to ensure all flights are covered.

“In the last week in September we established presence at the Canefield Airport to ensure that our flights at Canefield are covered. We also have presence at the Woodbridge Bay Port, the Ferry Terminal, the Long House and Cabrits Port in Portsmouth,” she said.