Breaking News: Jamaica confirms first case of coronavirus

Jamaica confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus in Kingston today.

The announcement was made by Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, at a press conference.

The confirmed case is a Jamaican female who travelled from the United Kingston and returned to Jamaica on March 4, presented to the public health system on March 9 and has been in isolation since, Tufton said.

The patient was isolated based on her travel history and symptoms. A clinical sample was collected and sent to the National Influenza Centre and was confirmed today at 11:00AM.

The patient and her family members have been notified, he said. The infection is deemed to be travel-related, Tufton said who added that steps are being taken to prevent community spread.

The steps include:

  1. The dispatch of health team to home of the patient for assessment and initiation of public health measures.
  2. The identification and contact tracing for all possible exposed persons.
  3. Meeting of Ministry officials with hospital staff members and the necessary interventions that are required to be put in place.
  4. Imposed travel restrictions remain in place, with three countries – Spain, France and Germany – added to the previous list of China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore and Iran

There are four designated quarantine facilities and others will be identified, Tufton said. Additionally, the finalisation of retrofitting of isolation facilities in each of the island’s health facilities, he said.

Tufton said the Ministry has developed local capacity to test for the virus.