13 persons in quarantine, one in isolation amid coronavirus safeguards
There are currently 13 persons in quarantine in Jamaica, and one individual is in isolation, as the Government continues to takes steps to lessen the likelihood of the dreaded coronavirus entering the country.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, revealed the numbers on Wednesday afternoon as the ministry gave an update on efforts to keep the disease at bay, or at least to contain it, should it breach the local shores.
Tufton sought to assure that Jamaica “remains vigilant in its efforts to protect the population from the novel coronavirus”.
A statement that followed the press conference explained that each traveller from China will be assessed to determine the type of quarantine to be applied.
“This assessment will be done using a special risk assessment tool,” it said.
Those determined to be high-risk will be quarantined in a Government facility. Those determined to be low-risk will be quarantined at home, and wiill be followed up daily by healthcare teams at the parish level.
And as the number of coronavirus deaths near 500 globally, with more than 20,000 people infected and at least 25 countries affected, Tufton reiterated that the restrictions on travel from China, the epicentre of the outbreak, remains in effect. This means that in addition to the usual port health and immigration rules and procedures for air and sea crafts, for travellers who have visited China in the last 14 days, the following will apply:
*Only Jamaican nationals, permanent residents and those with marriage exemption will be granted landing privileges.
*All travellers will be subject to immediate quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.
*Travelers who show any symptom of the novel coronavirus will be put in immediate isolation.
*Quarantine facilities are provided by the Government in some cases, and isolation facilities are operational at public hospitals.
Meanwhile, the ministry is to spearhead the setting up of a National Co-ordinating Mechanism as instructed by Cabinet.
According to the ministry, based on information currently available, the new coronavirus behaves in the same way as other coronaviruses, which means that the normal processing of goods coming into the country would have rendered them safe.
The ministry also noted that while the World Health Organisation (WHO) is currently reviewing measures to deal with the global demand for medical masks, Jamaica does not currently have a stock-out of such masks.
“I hasten to add that wearing a medical mask is not recommended, except for those persons who will be in close contact to symptomatic individuals. In fact, it may create a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures, such as proper hand hygiene,” Tufton said.
In terms of efforts to protect frontline workers, the ministry said the following have already taken place:
*Engaged 329 frontline employees at the Norman Manley and Sangster International Airports, including immigration, customs, port health, airport police, Jamaica Fire Brigade, aviation services, various airlines and management staff at ports.
*Training sessions have focused on the new coronavirus with respect to roles and responsibilities of the points of entries, as well as facilitation of prompt recognition of infectious or potentially infectious persons and implementation of appropriate interventions.
*Sensitised some 50 senior nursing managers and 50 physicians from the public health system across the island.
*Sensitised 50 clinicians from the private sector.
*Sensitised representatives from the various professional health groups, including the Medical Association of Jamaica, the Association of Government Consultants and the Jamaica Medical Doctors’ Association, together with the Professionals Supplementary to Medicine Group.