[Trinidad Express] – Trinidad and Tobago is reporting its first confirmed imported case of novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh [Thursday] afternoon disclosed that a patient had tested positive for the virus.
The patient is a 52-year-old man. He flew into the country from Switzerland on Monday and self-isolated even before he began experiencing symptoms, said National Security Minister Stuart Young.
By Wednesday, the man began experiencing symptoms and his family contacted health authorities.
A test was done and at 2.45pm and it was confirmed. Contact tracing, which involves locating all the people the patient was in contact with, is underway, and national security is supporting the effort.
All the passengers on the patient’s flight are being contacted. The contact tracing is being done using the protocols for tuberculosis, by Dr Michelle Trotman from the Caura Hospital.
Arrangements are being made to transfer him from his home by suitable ambulance services with all personal protective equipment, to the Caura facility.
His family members are also quarantined at home. The patient’s identity is being kept confidential.
The man was described as having a “mild case” of the coronavirus.
Switzerland has over 800 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths. The arrival of the virus had been anticipated for weeks, with the Health Ministry preparing a containment plan with the hope of delaying the spread, and preventing the upheaval that happened in others countries.
However, Wednesday’s declaration of the viral illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a pandemic set off a wave of fear across Trinidad and Tobago, with people panic buying supplies similar to the preparation for a coming hurricane.
This week, Jamaica, St Vincent and Guyana announced confirmed cases with the Guyana patient, a woman who travelled from the United States, dying at hospital.
Prior to the announcement today, Deyalsingh said Cabinet had taken the decision to ban all cruise ships from visiting Trinidad and Tobago for the rest of the cruise ship season, in an effort to protect T&T from imported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).