Jamaica Confirms First Imported Case of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Jamaica today confirmed its first imported case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Kingston.

According to Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, 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.

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Health authorities say that the woman arrived in Jamaica to attend a funeral. While there is no word yet on when exactly she started to show symptoms, efforts are being made to trace people that she may have been in contact with.

The news comes just hours after another Jamaican escaped from the quarantine centre in Kingston yesterday evening. The man arrived on the island on March 7 and had been placed in quarantine for observation. After being allowed to retrieve personal items from someone at the gate of the facility, he escaped in a car. He was later captured by in the early hours of this morning by the police force.

For further safety measures, three European countries have been added to the list that Jamaica has restricted travel to, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

They are Spain, France and Germany.

In addition, imposed travel restrictions remain in place for China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore and Iran, that were previously made public.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and I met this morning with the ambassadors of those countries, 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,” Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said.

Efforts are also being made to possibly cancel or reschedule several major events scheduled for this year, including the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships (CHAMPS). The government has already taken the decision that Jamaica will not participate in this year’s Penn Relays to take place from April 23 – 25.

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