Jamaica is now able to test for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, after local laboratory staff were trained by the Pan American Health Organisation last week.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton made the disclosure during a tour of the National Influenza Centre (NIC), based at the University Hospital of the West Indies yesterday.
The tests will be carried out at the NIC in collaboration with the National Public Health Laboratory.
Dr Tufton said this development is a positive one for the country’s public health system.
“It is very good because we don’t have to send samples elsewhere, which would take a few days. We can now do the test and decide how long we isolate people and if the isolation has to be elevated to the highest possible level,” he said.
Dr Tufton said the Government is making every effort to build the capacity of the health system to protect the public, should the virus enter the island.