Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (centre), speaks at a press conference on Tuesday (March 10) at the Ministry, in New Kingston. Seated beside him are Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan (left) and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie.

Full Activation of the National Emergency Operations Centre

The Minister of Health and Wellness, The Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton confirmed Jamaica’s 1st case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The patient is a Jamaican female who had travelled from the United Kingdom, which has cases of COVID-19. She arrived in the island 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. The patient and family members have been informed.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) , has since activated the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), to coordinate efforts to address the COVID-19. The NEOC is the designated administrative hub for disaster or emergency response coordination; it is therefore the “nerve centre” of Disaster response and recovery services. Full activation of the NEOC involves all members of the National Response Team (NRT), reporting to the centre and responding to all incidents pertaining to their portfolio responsibility.

The ODPEM is urging citizens to heed the precautionary measures issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to: 1. Maintain a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing. 2. Frequently perform hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer if hands are not visibly soiled. 3. Cover our mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discard it 4. And resist the habit to touch your face.

For additional information, the public is encouraged to contact the MOHW at 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683) or contact the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC), at ODPEM at (876) 906 9674-5 or (876) 754 9077-8.

Contact: Mrs. Joyce Robinson, Information Officer (876) 552-4861