Medical officials in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe have expedited tests to confirm whether the country has three cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
A report from La1ere on Thursday (Feb 27) noted the three people were examined at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Les Abymes, with blood samples collected and sent to French Guiana for testing.
The three are from the same family. One of them recently returned from a region where COVID-19 has been confirmed. The exact location was not disclosed, however, following local protocols, the group contacted health officials voluntarily.
The three persons, who have not been identified, are asymptomatic patients but have been placed under surveillance to remove any doubt of coronavirus infection.
The samples were sent to the Andrée Rosemon Hospital Centre and the results will be made available to officials of the French territory on Saturday (Feb 29).
In an interview with AFP, Minister of the Overseas Departments Annick Girardin said while fears for an outbreak are valid, she appeals for calm.
“The fear is legitimate because this coronavirus we hear a lot about it, and when we live on an island – it is the large part of the overseas territories outside of [Guiana] – we know very well what it can mean in such a closed environment,” Girardin said .
Girardin assured there are “currently no cases” of the disease in France’s overseas territories.
The latest developments come as Mexico confirmed its first case on Friday, signalling the virus’ entry into Latin America.