Jamaica has recorded its first imported case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, provided details at a press conference at the Ministry of Health and Wellness in New Kingston, on Tuesday (March 10).
Dr, Tufton pointed out that the patient is in isolation at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston.
“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,” the Minister noted.
“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 a.m. The patient and family members have been informed,” he added.
Dr. Tufton said the patient’s infection was travel-related, and steps are being taken to prevent the risk of community spread, which includes 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 possibly exposed persons, and a meeting of Ministry officials with members of staff at the hospital and the necessary interventions put in place.
He noted that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is urging the public 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 sanitiser if hands are not visibly soiled; cover mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discard it; and resist the habit of touching the face.
Additionally, he said imposed travel restrictions remain in place for China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Iran, Spain, France and Germany.