The First case of Coronavirus or COVID-19 has been recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The announcement was made by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment at a press conference last evening, just hours after the World Health Organization, declared the global outbreak of COVID-19 to be a pandemic.
Health Minister Luke Browne in giving the confirmation told the media, that the virus is an imported Case.
“The disease appeared in a Vincentian female who had travelled abroad to the United Kingdom/England (which is known to have cases of COVID-19) and returned home on March 7, 2010. The patient has been informed of this status. She is fully cooperating with the Ministry.”
“In fact, the patient voluntarily reported her symptoms to the Ministry on March 10, 2020 and since then has been in isolation at home under the care of competent health professionals. The symptoms are mild and we expect the patient to make a full recovery,” said Minster Browne.
Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, health professionals suspected COVID-19. These suspicions were confirmed by laboratory testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency Laboratory in Trinidad and Tobago.
The results were received today at approximately 5:20pm. The patient and her family members have already been informed.
This patient contracted COVID-19 as a result of travel. The Ministry is taking all necessary steps to prevent its local transmission in our communities,” said Minister Brown.
A health team was dispatched to the home of the patient to assess the situation and to initiate public health measures. Contact tracing to determine all the persons with whom the patient may have been in contact (and who may therefore have been exposed to COVID-19) was initiated.
The Ministry is in an advanced state of setting up an Isolation Centre in Argyle. 2 public hospitals can be used as isolation facilities. The equipment necessary to allow us to perform in-country tests for COVID-19 is being ordered.
The Ministry will carry out a thorough health education campaign based on coronavirus in the communities, schools, churches and other groups.
This Government has been preparing for the management of a possible case of COVID-19 through activities carried out under the International Health Regulations.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment and the wider Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will continue to keep the press and the public up-to-date on all developments. We could overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 together.