JAMAICA CONFIRMED its first imported case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) today (March 10).
The news was revealed by the country’s health and wellness minister Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton at a press conference in Kingston.
The patient is a Jamaican female who had travelled to the country 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.
The patient and family members have been informed.
Confirmation of the case means that there are now four Caribbean countries where cases of the virus have been confirmed – Dominican Republic, St Martin, and St Barts. are the others.
Tufton told the media that the patient’s infection was travel-related. However, steps are being taken to prevent the risk of community spread.
These measures included:
-The dispatch of a health team to the home of the patient for assessment and initiation of public health measures.
-Identifying and contacting people the patient may have come into contact with
-Health ministry officials meeting with members of staff at the hospital she is being treated at and implementing necessary interventions.
Tufton added that three countries have been added to the list of five (China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, and Iran) that was previously made public.
They are Spain, France and Germany.
He said: “The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and I met this morning with the ambassadors of those countries, together with the ambassador for the EU and have informed them that based on the risk assessment of community spread of the virus in those countries that travel restrictions would be imposed.
“Further, I would like to advise that public gatherings are discouraged, sensitisation of key personnel at all air and sea ports is ongoing and we continue to patrol irregular border crossings.”