Cabinet will receive an update today (January 27) on Jamaica’s state of preparedness for the novel coronavirus (nCoV).
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who made the disclosure, indicated that “when it comes to health threats, the Government is taking no chance, no risk; we are trying to be fully prepared”.
He was speaking to journalists prior to the handover ceremony for 50 new vector-control vehicles, at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St. Andrew, on January 27.
Coronaviruses are a large family known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The nCoV is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans.
Common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. More severe infections can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has started the sensitisation of key stakeholders as it seeks to ensure optimised operational readiness for the novel coronavirus.
A release from the Ministry said travellers to Jamaica can also expect vigilant airport screening – from thermal scanning to data collection of appropriate travel history, signs and symptoms of respiratory illness, and any history of contact with a confirmed case or anyone having fever and respiratory symptoms.
It further stated that any suspected case of the novel coronavirus – whether identified at the island’s ports of entry or health facilities – will trigger a cascade of activities, including notification of the various levels of the health system and preparation of receiving facilities as well as the mobilisation of required resources.
The new virus reportedly surfaced in Wuhan, China.