The Trinidad and Tobago government on Monday said it is not aware of any case of the deadly coronavirus being detected in the Caribbean country.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, responding to questions in Parliament, said his administration “is very alert” as it relates to the virus that has killed more than 56 people in China.
“The Ministry of Health is preparing a note for the Cabinet on this matter and the appropriate decision will be taken and at the appropriate time the population will be informed,” he said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there have been imported cases being reported by the United States and other countries, including Thailand and the Republic of Korea.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Asked by an opposition legislator to confirm whether there are any confirmed cases of the virus in Trinidad and Tobago “at the moment,’ Rowley replied: “As far as the government of Trinidad and Tobago is aware we are not in a position to confirm any such, but the Ministry of Health (Terrence Deyalsingh) has pointed out that the nature of the virus is such that if you are not presenting with a temperature to be identified and if you are….a symptomatic…that is not a proof that you are not carrying the virus.
“So, we are in no position …to confirm that we have, and I think that’s a good position to be in at this time,” Rowley added.