The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is calling on the government to urgently activate a quarantine area in western Jamaica in the event that the novel coronavirus is detected on the island.
The virus, which originated in China, has now killed 908 persons. As of today, there are 40,655 confirmed cases, and the virus has spread to 24 countries. There has only been one death outside of China.
Shadow Minister of Health Dr Morais Guy said the western end of the island is a major gateway for arrivals to the island, including major cruise shipping ports, and that this belt must be adequately resourced to provide guaranteed protection against the virus.
Dr Guy said the distance between the island’s western gateways and the St Joseph’s hospital in Kingston, which has now been designated a quarantine facility, will pose some challenges. He said health workers, who in the main will be responsible for the transfers, as well as the general public—must be protected—if infected persons are to be transported across the island to St Joseph’s.
Furthermore, Dr Guy is questioning the availability of the isolation/treatment facility at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) and its functionality in light of recent challenges and ongoing work at the location. “It is our view that it would be more cost-effective to relocate the present laboratories and reopen that specialized facility which was set up at CRH for Ebola, as it was built with infection containment specifications,” Dr Guy said.