As the 18th Annual World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) draws nearer, the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) is working closely with health officials on island and the region to address the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
“We are working with our health officials here and working with all the ports-of-call,” chairman of the DFC, Collin Piper, said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We have people coming from Paris. We have people coming through Guadeloupe, Martinique, so we are in the process of understanding what the process, the policy and procedures are for each of those hubs so that it will inform our plan here in Dominica.”
Fears have been expressed that the virus could enter the island during the festival since large numbers of people visit and groups from parts of Africa, where the disease is rampant, are set to perform on stage.
According to Piper, just today (Tuesday) he had a telephone conversation with the Director of (Airport) Operations in St Maarten, “just to understand as people come through what their screening processes are…So, that is something that’s a working process that we continue to work on,” he stated.
He mentioned also that a meeting to discuss the Ebola matter was held between the DFC and health officials on island a week ago and another meeting is expected this week.
“To just dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he stated.
Piper believes that the safety and security of all Dominicans is paramount.
“So the DFC and Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) may put a note together for the government to be apprised of all the options that the collective minds can come together and do what they believe is in the best interest of Dominica, not only for the festival but in general,” he said.
Health officials are expected to be present at the DFC’s weekly press conference next week Tuesday to further address the matter.
Earlier this week leader of the United Workers Party, Lennox Linton, called on officials to begin the process of ascertaining whether the African groups set to perform pose any risk.
The (EVD), formerly known as Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever, is a severe, often fatal illness. Up to nine out of every 10 people with the infection, die. There are no licensed specific treatments or vaccine available for use in people or animals. The time between acquiring an infection and showing symptoms and signs varies from two to 21 days.
The virus is also highly infectious and is spread by person-to-person transmission through direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions of infected persons including blood, sweat, urine or feces.
Symptoms include fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, external bleeding and rash.