First case of ‘imported’ COVID-19 in Antigua
ST JOHN’S – Prime Minister Gaston Browne Friday announced that Antigua and Barbuda had recorded its first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) following other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and Guyana where the virus has surfaced.
Browne said that the case was an “imported one” with the unidentified woman having arrived here from the United Kingdom, earlier this month.
“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”.
He said the woman, who had arrived here on March 10 “is in self-isolation at home and a regime has been put in place today, not only to continue such isolation but also to treat the condition”.
Browne said the authorities here had earlier announced that two individuals had been showing symptoms associated with the virus that was first detected in China at the end of December last year and which has been blamed for more than 4 000 deaths across more than 110 countries, globally.
He said samples were sent to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) with one being positive.
“All of this happened very quickly and it is a demonstration of how well prepared our health officials are in identifying possible coronavirus sufferers,” he said telling the nation that the woman had arrived here from the United Kingdom on a British Airways flight.
“She went directly to her mother’s home that night and on March 11 she visited a private medical clinic where the doctors recognised the symptoms of the coronavirus and immediately contacted government health officials who took the required samples and sent them to CARPHA for testing.”
He said the results were returned on Thursday and that he has been given an assurance by health officials that the possibility of a spread “is unlikely since the person has been isolated at home during the entire period in the company only of a parent.
“In any event, no stone will be left unturned in testing the parent and other persons with whom the patient and the mother has been in contact. That exercise will be carried out today,” Browne said, noting that he had been informing the country of not “if but when COVID 19 would reach our shores”.