When British Airways flight number 2263 landed in Jamaica on March 4, 2020, it brought the first case of COVID-19 to Jamaica. The carrier was a woman who came from the UK to attend a family funeral. She was already infected with the virus without knowing it when she traveled. Eventually he felt bad and saw the doctor on March 9. On the morning of March 10, the Ministry of Health and Welfare confirmed that the woman had been isolated since the diagnosis.
On March 11, a second case was confirmed. This case involves an employee of the United States Embassy in Kingston, newly arrived from the United Kingdom.
The embassy stopped attending on March 11 and in a press release declined to reveal further details of the patient for privacy reasons. The statement noted that the embassy was “in the process of disinfecting the facilities to prevent a new outbreak,” and would not provide its services until further notice:
BREAKING: Some US Embassy Staffers in the Consular Section have been advised to self quarantine for the next 14 days.
Move comes following 2nd imported case of the Coronavirus in JA.
The 2nd case is a Jamaican female who's an employee at the Consular Section of the Embassy.
– Abka Fitz-Henley (@AbkaFitzHenley) March 11, 2020
LATEST NEWS: The Government of Jamaica will shortly confirm that Jamaica has registered a second imported case of Coronavirus.
The second confirmed case is a worker from the United States Embassy in Kingston who traveled to the United Kingdom and returned to Jamaica this week.
The worker is in isolation.
LATEST NEWS: Some workers in the Consular Section of the United States Embassy have been recommended to isolate themselves for the next 14 days.
The measure is given in the second imported case of coronavirus in Jamaica.
The second is a Jamaican who works in the Consular Section of the Embassy.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which tracks those who had contact with the first case, requested:
IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you traveled to Jamaica to the Norman Manley International Airport on Flight BA 2263, please make contact with us urgently.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you arrived in Jamaica via Norman Manley International Airport on British Airways flight 2263, please contact us urgently.
According to health officials, on March 12, there were 39 people quarantined in a government facility, another eight people are quarantined in their homes. In addition, there are twelve isolated in government facilities (including the two confirmed positive people) because they have been showing symptoms that would indicate the presence of the virus. The test results of these isolated patients are expected to be published soon. As of March 13, 296 travelers have been declared “suspects,” and 65 officials have been denied entry to the island.
The virus has severely affected travel around the world, and by extension the fragile product of tourism in the Caribbean region, particularly the cruise industry. The first case was released in the Dominican Republic on March 1.
It was quickly learned that the Guyana Territories (where a New York traveler allegedly died); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago have registered their first cases, all through travelers, which has some jamaicans clearly to the limit.
Now that the virus has reached Jamaica, its impact on citizens is tangible. For example, Kingston's vibrant cultural scene is on hold. “We are sociable people,” said a health official in a live social media chat on the night of March 11.
Perhaps the words fall short. With numerous entertainment activities and parties planned for Jamaica's busy Carnival preseason, scheduled for April 16-22, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced at an emergency dam conference on March 11 that there are no major gatherings , which usually require authorization.
Jamaica's carnival, increasingly popular with many foreign visitors, may be the next to fall victim to the virus.
They have already postponed various activities, including Champs, the country's very popular annual athletics championship. School track teams have also been banned from attending this year's Penn Relays, to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
Starting March 13, schools across Jamaica they were closed for 14 days, although the Government reserves the right to review its decision in 10 days. The Mona campus of the University of the West Indies is also closed until after Easter.
Therefore, interactions in the region are being forced to change by the recommendations of the World Health Organization, such as “social distancing”. Jamaicans are demonstrative people, and now they are letting each other hug and kiss when they greet each other. This has caused funny posts on social media:
– Doug.Halsall O.D. aiswebnet.com (@HalsallDoug) March 11, 2020
Prime Minister Holness also showed how to disinfect hands before the press conference:
– Nationwide90FM (@Nationwideradio) March 11, 2020
Tune in to Nationwide Radio as we broadcast the Jamaican Government emergency press conference.
Despite the anxiety, it has been praised the Jamaican Government's management of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, the country's health minister has extensively used traditional platforms and social media, including live Facebook feeds and near-daily briefings in person.
On Twitter, a Twitter user couldn't resist comparing how Jamaica has approached it and how the United States:
My little sh * thole country is handling this crisis management so much better than the USA and I'm just so proud 😢
– 👩🔬 Actinomagnificent (@JamaicanLabrat) March 11, 2020
My little country is handling this crisis much better than the United States and I am very proud.
Another was complimentary and even coined a new label:
– Kelly McIntosh (@KellyKatharin) March 11, 2020
The Jamaican government is ruling. Very good.
With general elections likely to be called in 2020, Holness's handling of the COVID-19 crisis may bode well for politics if done right. For now, politics is in the background, while Jamaica and its neighbors focus first on staying healthy.