The patient is a Jamaican female who had travelled from the United Kingdom, which has cases of COVID-19. She arrived in the island on March 4, presented to the public health system on March 9 and has been in isolation since then.
Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, health professionals suspected COVID-19. A clinical sample was collected and sent to the National Influenza Centre, where laboratory tests confirmed the diagnosis today at approximately 11:00 am. The patient and family members have been informed.
The patient’s infection was travel-related. However, steps are being taken to prevent the risk of community spread.
These measures include:
- The dispatch of a health team to the home of the patient for assessment and initiation of public health measures.
- The identification and contact tracing for all possible exposed persons.
- Meeting of Ministry officials with members of staff at the hospital and the necessary interventions put in place.
In addition, imposed travel restrictions remain in place, with three countries now added to the list of five (China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, and Iran) previously made public. They are Spain, France and Germany.
At the same time:
- Public gatherings are discouraged.
- Non-essential travel is discouraged.
- Patrol of irregular border crossings is ongoing.
- Sensitisation of key personnel at all air and sea ports is ongoing.
- FOUR (4) quarantine facilities have been designated and others are to be identified.
- Retrofitting of isolation facilities in public hospitals being finalised.
Minister of Health Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton has also named a COVID-19 Response Advisory team that will support the Ministry’s planning and coordination with respect of this public health challenge. The team include:
- Howard Mitchel, former president of eh Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica;
- Christopher Zacca, CEO, Sagicor;
- Owen Ellington, former Commissioner of Police;
- Devon Dick, Jamaica Baptist Union;
- Marina Ramkisoon, Deputy Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI;
- Commander Wenyss Gorman, JDF;
- Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Powell, JDF; and
- ACP Calvin Allen, JCF.
The public is urged to adhere to infection prevention and control measures, notably to:
- Maintain a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing.
- Frequently perform hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer if hands are not visibly soiled.
- Cover our mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discarding it.
- And resist the habit to touch our faces.