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The Caribbean is to receive a boost of US$8.6 million from the European Union to help it buy coronavirus test kits, plus masks and other personal protective equipment.

The money will increase the capacity of regional countries to carry out laboratory testing for Covid-19, support quarantine and isolation procedures, and contact tracing.

The grant will be implemented by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and is expected to improve the detection, surveillance, prevention, control and response to the pandemic.

It will also support laboratory testing and epidemiology training, strengthen surveillance at ports of entry and support and promote the use of Covid-19 guidelines and protocols among health professionals.

“In addition, it will finance treatment and vaccines when they become available and allow CARPHA to hire two additional laboratory technologists to deal with the anticipated surge in demand for testing for the Covid-19 virus and also support the maintenance of new and existing equipment,” a release stated.

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