By Ravin Singh in Jamaica
Jamaica has recorded its second imported case of the novel coronavirus which was on Wednesday declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the country’s Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, the individual is a female employee of the US Embassy which is located in Kingston – one of the most populated areas in Jamaica.
The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, is said to have returned from the UK earlier this week.
It was only on Tuesday that the Minister confirmed the first case which was also a female Jamaican who had travelled from the United Kingdom (UK) and arrived in Jamaica on March 4. It was not until March 9 that she was taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed.
Both patients arrived on the island through the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston. NMIA has more than 125,000 passengers per month.
In response to the threat of the virus, the Government had set up four quarantine facilities while others are being identified. At the same time, efforts are being made to finalize the retrofitting of isolation facilities in each of the island’s public hospitals.
The Northern Caribbean University which is located In Jamaica has since decided to offer more online classes since the first confirmed case.
The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona which is home to some 20 Guyanese students has set up a task force and a Campus Emergency Committee to activate its action plan. However, since the first reported case Tuesday, operations at the University has continued as normal.
On the part of the Government, several measures have been taken to reduce the risk of the virus being spread.
Among those measures are: 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 possible exposed persons; and a meeting of Ministry officials with members of staff at the hospital and the necessary interventions put in place.