Tonge not concerned about Zika travel advisory

Although a travel advisory was recently issued for Dominica by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States after the island confirmed its first case of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge has said that he is “not very concerned” about the effect of such an advisory on the local tourism industry.

The Minister commented on the matter during a press conference on Wednesday morning.

“I’m not very concerned on the basis that throughout the world the Zika virus has had very minimal impact on tourist arrivals in the respective countries,” he said.

Tongue stated that Dominica has been proactive in reducing the chances of Zika, by destroying mosquito breeding areas, through fogging, cleaning, and misting.

“Well, in terms of getting rid of that thing, it has to blow over, in a sense,” he noted. “But Dominica has been extremely proactive in terms of their stance, in terms of reducing the chances of Zika virus. And, with any mosquito, if you can reduce the breeding areas, then you have less mosquitoes to deal with; and we’ve done an excellent job, in terms of cleaning, and fogging, and misting, and I think we must continue to do that.”

However, he advised that each citizen be responsible for eliminating mosquito breeding grounds in his/her area, in an effort to quell the increase of the mosquito population, and in turn, minimize the likelihood for the spread of the Zika virus.

“But, the real importance is going to be on us, as individuals, to ensure that our homes, our offices—we reduce the breeding areas for those mosquitoes as much as possible,” Tonge said. “We all have to do our part to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes. If you cut off the breeding areas, then you have no mosquitoes to deal with.”

Dominica announced its first confirmed case of the disease on March 15, 2016 and health officials said there was no need for alarm.

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