Ministry in contact with Jamaicans at the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on Sunday (Jan 26) said that it is in contact with 18 Jamaican nationals in Wuhan, China—the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak.

According to the minister with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson-Smith, contact has been made with the Jamaican community in China, through the Jamaican Embassy in Beijing, and a WhatsApp group has been established to help ensure timely communications.

“We are aware of 18 Jamaicans including students and teachers in the Wuhan area, the epicentre of the outbreak, who are keeping in touch with each other and the Embassy, by way of a WhatsApp group for support and communication purposes,” Johnson-Smith said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith.

Johnson-Smith added that most importantly, the ministry was assured that the 18 nationals were said to be in “generally good spirits,” notwithstanding some concerns, understandably, about possible developments in the coming days and weeks. The minister encouraged Jamaican nationals in the area to monitor information and advisories released by Chinese officials and cooperate in all efforts to contain the spread of the virus. The minister indicated that the embassy would issue further information or guidance to the community, as soon as it becomes available.

“We share with all Jamaicans and international colleagues concern regarding the coronavirus and are therefore monitoring the matter closely from a community welfare perspective, as well as from a world health perspective,” said Johnson-Smith. “We are also monitoring official information including that published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Chinese authorities, and are encouraging persons in Jamaica who have families or associates in China to make contact with them to determine their situation and inform the Ministry here in Kingston of any new circumstances.”

The minister noted that the ministry would be providing a special number for the purpose of communicating with those in Wuhan come January 27.