A 50-year-old female who arrived in Grenada from the United Kingdom is the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case.
“She arrived in Grenada from the United Kingdom on Monday, March 16th. She became symptomatic on Tuesday, March 17th, and was subsequently tested,” said Health Minister Nicholas Steele during a special midday news conference on Sunday.
Describing Grenada’s patient zero as an imported case, the Minister surrounded by Dr Francis Martin, Acting Chief Medical Officer and Dr George Mitchell the COVID-19 response Coordinator said the patient is now in isolation to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
Officials of the Ministry of Health told reporters that they are also aggressively conducting contact tracing for the woman who is exhibiting mild symptoms.
“I assure you that our very capable medical team has been actively following up and engaging in contact tracing. We are already moving to isolate and monitor several others, who were in close contact with the patient. This will continue for the next 14 days, at least,” said the Minister who explained that contact tracing includes using the aircraft’s manifest.
It was also announced that effective Monday and until further notice, the country’s airspace will be closed.
However, there will be one exception – that of a British Airways flight which was pre-approved for landing on Wednesday.
According to Steele, there are British nationals in the country who want to leave and this flight is to accommodate them.
He also announced that due to the confirmation of COVID-19 here, passengers on this scheduled flight will be treated differently in terms of the law and the health protocols.
He also used the opportunity to advise the public to report or inform the Ministry of Health, or nearest health facility, of any possible or suspected persons displaying acute respiratory symptoms at this time.
“As the State of Grenada continues to aggressively monitor its ports and implement additional stringent methods to further, protect our Nation, the general public is urged to follow the safety advice and guidance of the Ministry of Health: practice proper hygiene, and maintain social distancing of, at least, six feet,” he said.
In keeping with standard protocol, the Ministry of Health has reported the confirmation of the first case to the World Health Organization (WHO), and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).