Health Minister says no coronavirus case in Jamaica; advises against travel to China

The Ministry of Health and Wellness says there is no case of the coronavirus in Jamaica following claims that a patient was being treated at the University Hospital of the West Indies earlier today.

A Chinese woman wears a mask as she stands near the light of a police vehicle on regular duty at Beijing Railway station before the annual Spring Festival on January 21, 2020.
(Photo: Bloomberg)

The claim was widely circulated on social media after news broke that an individual who recently travelled to China was being treated for flu-like symptoms. Additionally, parts of the hospital were reportedly closed as health professionals responded to the case.

Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, in an emergency meeting at the Ministry’s location in New Kingston, said there is no truth to the claim.

Health Minister Dr Chrsiopher Tufton, (second from right) at the emergency press conference called by the Health Ministry.

The patient being evaluated has a history of travel to China and as such, the coronavirus was “rightfully” considered, said Tufton, “out of an abundance of caution.”

It was also said that the patient does not have a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more, an indicator of the virus, and will be discharged once cleared.

People in protective masks walk under decorations for Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing on Jan. 25. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Regarding its approach to the virus, Tufton said “We take this issue very seriously”, adding that a ‘more comprehensive statement will be given at 2:00 PM’.

Tufton advised persons with travel plans to China to consider postponing those arrangements while saying there are strategies in place for persons in transit to the island.