BASSETERRE, St. Kitts-Nevis, March 26, 2020 (CMC) – St. Kitts-Nevis, the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country not to have recorded a case of the coronavirus in recent days, announced, yesterday, two cases, as a result of the patients having recently travelled to the United States, and urged nationals not to panic or be fearful.
Health Minister, Wendy Phipps, said the cases were confirmed, late on Tuesday night, and that the patients, a 57 year-old female and 21 year-old male, both had a recent travel history to the US.
She said both persons are nationals of the twin-island Federation and had returned, here, on March 18, and tested two days later.
They have been in quarantine since their arrival, Phipps said, adding that among the measures now underway, is in-depth contact-tracing.
“We want to remind the public that the infection of both patients is travel-related, meaning that the cases of COVID-19 were imported into the country. Every effort is now being taken to prevent the possibility of community or local transmission,” the Health Minister said.
She disclosed that among the key measures now being taken, include in-depth contact-tracing, “in an effort to correctly assess the persons, with whom both patients would have interacted”, as well as quarantine and monitoring of the contacts of the patients, in order to ensure they are handled, in keeping with World Health Organization (WHO) approved protocols.
Phipps said, based on data collected from contact-tracing, “containment of the infection would be executed, in order to restrict spread of the infection in the local community”.
She said that the government is making every effort to implement the National Pandemic Virus Action Plan that has been approved, in response to the coronavirus.
“This is not a time for panic and fear. In fact, the opposite is required of all of us. We are called upon to remain calm and to follow the advice of the Ministry of Health, which is the local official authority on health information, related to the novel coronavirus.”
She said all citizens are called upon to “get on board and work together and to be our brother’s keepers in this global fight against COVID-19”.
The Minister said Cabinet has since accepted the recommendation that schools be closed, as of yesterday.
“I pledge to you, that our government will do everything in our power to maintain and protect the health, wellness and quality of life of our people,” she added.