Yesterday (March 10, 2020) Jamaica announced that it had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus COVID-19, a young Jamaican woman who had arrived in the island from the UK…
“…on March 4, presented to the public health system on March 9 and has been in isolation since then.
Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, health professionals suspected COVID-19. A clinical sample was collected and sent to the
National Influenza Centre, where laboratory tests confirmed the diagnosis
today at approximately 11:00 am.”
Today (March 11, 2020) the World Health Organization classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
“In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled.
There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.
Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals.
In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.
WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.
We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.
Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.
We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.
And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time.
WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases.
And we have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action.
We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
Within the last week there have been a number of events aimed at sharing information about the COVID-19 disease generally and about the disease in the context of Jamaica. Most of these events took place before the first case was identified in Jamaica and the situation is developing rapidly around the world and here as well. But I wanted to pull together in one place some of the information events here and that is the simple purpose of this blog post.
March 10, 2020 – Ministry of Health & Wellness Press Briefing on 1st Case of Coronavirus confirmed
Unfortunately the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica recording doesn’t start right at the beginning of the press briefing, but the full text of Minister Chris Tufton’s statement can be seen in the first document in this blog post. And there is a full recording on Prime Minister Holness’ Facebook page.
March 8, 2020 – Minister of Health’s National Statement: COVID-19 Comprehensive Response Plan
This National Statement was broadcast on Sunday night on most of the main radio and television stations. I cannot find the text of it on the Ministry of Health website, however. Perhaps they will post it at some point.
What I also haven’t yet seen is a published copy of the Comprehensive Response Plan document and I don’t yet know when or if the government intends to make it public. I think it should be made public.
March 5, 2020 – University of the West Indies (Mona) Faculty of Medical Sciences, COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Conference
Dr Tomlin Paul, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, chaired this conference at which seven presentations were made on a variety of aspects of the situation. The presenters were: Professor Celia Christie, Dr Carl Bruce, Dr Sandra Jackson, Dr Karen Webster-Kerr, Dr Christine Clarke, Professor Wendel Abel, Professor J. Peter Figueroa and their presentations were followed by a Q & A session. It was a very informative event and was streamed live, which extended the reach greatly.
March 5, 2020 – Meeting of the National Disaster Risk Management Council
The Council is headed by the Prime Minister and at the meeting he and a number of other Ministers and agency heads made presentations focused on COVID-19.
The situation continues to evolve and the need for timely official information is ongoing.