St Lucia and Antigua both confirmed their first cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Friday, March 13.
St Lucia’s Chief Medical Officer Sharon Belmar George made the announcement a short while ago at a news conference, just hours after the Ministry of Health said there were no confirmed cases of the virus on the island.
Reports are that the confirmed case is a woman who arrived in St Lucia on March 7 and presented at a health facility with mild symptoms days later.
A sample has reportedly been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing.
The Chief Medical Officer noted that the positive test result was received earlier today.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne today also announced that Antigua and Barbuda has recorded its first imported case of the coronavirus.
Browne said the case is a woman who arrived on the island on March 10 after travelling to the United Kingdom.
He said “It is my unfortunate duty to advise you that our country recorded our first confirmation of someone who has contracted the coronavirus,” Browne said in a radio and television broadcast, adding that he wanted to emphasise “there is no need for fear or panic arising from this case”.
The woman is said to be in self-isolation where she remained for the entire time in the care of a parent since her return.
“In any event our country and our economy live by tourism and by the importation of goods, sealing our borders was no more possible for us than for any other country in the world,” Browne said, adding that measures have been implemented to prevent planes from some countries and cruise ships with suspected cases as well as developing a quarantine programme.
The two countries join a growing list of regional territories, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and Guyana, which have reported cases.