Sweeping changes have been announced by US Embassy in Kingston, after one of its Jamaican employees was confirmed as the island’s second novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case last week.
The embassy, in a statement on Tuesday (March 17), explained that it took a range of mitigation steps to contain any further spread of the disease, in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local Ministry of Health and Wellness guideline.
The US Embassy, in a thread on Twitter, said that the staff of the entire consular section where the individual works, and anyone who came in close contact with them was ordered to remain at home.
The suspected co-workers were urged to notify the embassy and the Ministry of Health & Wellness immediately if they developed symptoms related to COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution.
“As a preventive measure, within 24 hours of the incident, the Embassy flew in from Washington, DC a US Department of State decontamination team that sanitised the affected areas of the embassy,” the statement indicated.
“Following the initial precautionary steps taken, the embassy attending physician, in consultation with other medical experts conducted assessments of the staff who were ordered to remain at home and made final determination on who to remain on home quarantine,” the US Embassy continued.
It was determined that 14 individuals remain in quarantine for the prescribed 14-day period, which is slated to end next Tuesday, March 24.
The US Embassy indicated that as of 1:00 pm Tuesday, none of the 14 employees have manifested symptoms.
Additionally, the embassy is using the opportunity to provide support to the Government of Jamaica in its national response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
An offer was reportedly made to the Ministry of Health for support through the embassy’s staff physicians and other public health professionals if needed.
These personnel would assist the government in areas of contact tracing, data management and critical care, the embassy said in its statement.
“The embassy is also in the process of acquiring resources from U.S. government agencies for support in the areas of medical equipment, PPE (personal protective equipment), and testing kits, to supplement GoJ’s efforts,” the embassy tweeted.
The embassy did not disclose what was the current condition of Jamaica’s second case of COVID-19.