Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton (JIS)
KINGSTON – The Jamaica government Tuesday denied reports of a case of the deadly coronavirus ((2019-nCoV) that has been blamed for more than 100 deaths in China.
“I just want to say categorically that there is no truth to the claim that there’s a case of the coronavirus at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI),” Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told a hastily arranged news conference.
Rumours had been circulating on social media that one person had been admitted to the UHWI, but the hospital’s medical chief of staff, Dr Carl Bruce, who also addressed the news conference, said the patent was being tested based on a travel history.
“The patient does not have a fever over 38 degrees, so they do not meet the case definition for the coronavirus,” he said, adding that “the patient is doing well and will be discharged after testing and investigation are complete.”
Dr Bruce said that concerns were only raised by medical personnel because the patient travelled to China on January 7, and out of New York seven days later.
“The patient was transferred to us from another hospital and the doctors at the Emergency room at the University Hospital evaluated this patient as we usually do,” he said, confirming that “the patient had a history of travel to Asia, in China specifically”.
“The team rightfully so considered whether or not one of the differential diagnosis as we say in medicine should be
Tufton said the government has since taken a decision that a travel advisory will be issued “where persons in China who are planning to travel to the island will be advised or asked to remain in China.
“Where person who were planning trips to China, whether Jamaicans or Chinese, we are advising them to postpone at least for the time being those travel arrangements that they would have made or are planning to make”.
Tufton said persons who are in transit to Jamaica “our quarantine protocols would be put in place, where persons would either be quarantined in facilities …or within their home environment depending on the particular circumstances and the risk assessment that would be done”. (CMC)