Jamaica preparing border protection personnel for coronavirus

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (centre) responds to questions from journalists during a press briefing Wednesday (Feb 5) on Jamaica’s national emergency response and preparedness for the coronavirus. With him are
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Dunstan Bryan and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Karen Webster Kerr.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is training border protection and control personnel to deal with the novel coronavirus.

Portfolio Minister, Dr the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said 329 frontline employees at the Norman Manley and Sangster International airports, including immigration, customs, port health, airport police, Jamaica Fire Brigade, aviation services, airline, and management staff, have been engaged.

He noted that the training sessions have focused on the roles and responsibilities of personnel at the points of entry, as well as facilitate prompt recognition of infectious or potentially infectious persons, and implementation of appropriate interventions.

“We are engaging all the critical personnel at our ports; it’s not just about healthcare workers; it’s not just about nurses. It’s all the persons who would have an opportunity or reason to interact or to interface with persons coming into the island,” Tufton said.

He was addressing a media briefing at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston on Wednesday (Feb 5), where he provided an update on Jamaica’s national emergency response and preparedness for the virus. Additionally, Tufton noted that 50 senior nursing managers, 50 physicians from the public health systems across the island and 50 clinicians from the private sector have been sensitised. He said representatives from the various professional health groups, including the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), Association of Government Consultants and the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA), together with the professionals supplementary to medicine group, have also been trained.