Jamaica to establish Emerging Infectious Disease Research Centre- seeks regional partnerships

Minister Darly Vaz

Jamaica is seeking strategic partnerships, with countries such as China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), to establish an Emerging Infectious Disease Research Centre. The Centre will be geared at expanding the knowledge of emerging and re-emerging viruses in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
This was disclosed by Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz at the 2nd Forum of Science, Technology and Innovation between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
“The work that has already been undertaken through engagements of the CELAC Network of Experts on Infectious Agents, Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases would therefore prove beneficial to the success of this endeavor,” the Minister said.
The 2nd Forum of Science, Technology and Innovation between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was held to strengthen ICT capacities in the region, particularly in the area of research and development and artificial intelligence within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In making his contribution to the Forum, which was attended by China and twenty one Latin American and Caribbean countries, Minister Vaz also announced that “Jamaica is moving to increase virtual assistance channels in customer service and support operations from 5% in 2019 to 25% in 2021.”
He noted that as the region seeks to address the challenges of managing COVID-19, more innovative approaches would need to be formulated. “Jamaica is keen on pursuing avenues through which to strengthen research and development in the scientific community as it pertains to supporting innovation and the development of indigenous products in the context of COVID-19.”
A recently released PAHO/ECLAC report on the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that two hundred and thirty-one (231) million people will be living in poverty in the region and ninety six (96) million in extreme poverty.
The Forum, which was co-chaired by the People’s Republic of China and Mexico, was aimed at promoting cooperation in science, technology and innovation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and explored the:
– Development and cooperation of biomedical research for COVID-19.
– Development and potential for cooperation in areas of Science and Technology (artificial intelligence and e-commerce) in the context of the pandemic.
– Trends in the development of science and technology in the post-pandemic era and a new perspective on cooperation in scientific and technological innovation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean, including space cooperation for the exchange of good practices in earth observation and satellite imagery.
The 1st Forum of Science, Technology and Innovation between China and CELAC was held September 2015 in Quito, Ecuador.

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