(CMR) Amid growing concerns that the coronavirus could soon reach the Caribbean local public health officials have issued a travel advisory this morning confirming that border enhancement procedures are now in place. There are no specifics as to what those measures include but public health officials are assuring the public they are ready.
Public health officials are reminding residents to be on continued alert because of the rapidly increasing numbers of people affected by the novel coronavirus both within China and internationally. The potential for international dissemination of the virus via air travel is clear from the rise in cases reported in multiple countries. Residents are being reminded to “be in the know” about 2019-nCoV (the 2019 novel coronavirus) in any travel abroad and to practice general infection control measures such as:
- frequent hand cleansing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, and
- avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
Travellers coming to the Caribbean from a 2019-nCoV affected country can expect to undergo entrance screening. In the Cayman Islands, surveillance has already been enhanced at all borders. Public health officials are reminding arriving passengers to seek medical attention and to share their travel history with their healthcare provider if they have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness. Common symptoms of the 2019-nCoV infection are of the respiratory system such as shortness of breath and cough, along with ‘flu-like’ symptoms and fever.
Public Health officials and the management of the Health Services Authority wishes to assure the public on their capability to manage any imported cases of the novel coronavirus and continue to activate national contingency plans as needed.
For further information on the 2019-nCoV please contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621.
Regional officials continue to monitor the situation after Jamaica had a scare earlier this week. Jamaica has a significant Chinese population with many business class persons traveling between the two countries.