Saturday 22 February, 2020

Grenada: CARPHA can test for coronavirus

Grenada has indicated that it will use the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to conduct testing for the Novel Coronavirus in the event it reaches the country’s shores.  

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Francis Martin says CARPHA now has the ability to test for the coronavirus and Grenada is in possession of swabs to collect samples when needed.  

Test results will not take long and should be available within hours.  

Dr Martin says while there is no evidence of the virus in the Caribbean region, he believes focus should be placed on the country’s elderly population as all evidence related to deaths seem to focus on the aged and persons who have chronic diseases.  

The Acting CMO said: “A word to the elderly is that you should continue to pay attention to your diet, eat healthily, have lots of rest and drink water because you are at risk if the virus hits our shores.” 

Dr Martin also gave an update on the four persons under quarantine following their recent return from China.  

He says they continue to be visited and examined daily, have shown no symptoms to date, with the first individual who was placed under quarantine, due to be released soon.  

A second thermal camera has since been installed at the Maurice Bishop International Airport to detect persons with a high temperature.  

Assurances were also given to citizens that they could receive packages from China or any other similar country as the survival of the virus outside of a human host is very low.  

Meanwhile, Health Minister Nickolas Steele addressed the situation in Jamaica regarding a patient, who samples were taken from and sent overseas for testing, after an elevated temperature was detected.   

Minister Steele notes it was done out of caution due to the individual’s travel history and assures Jamaica’s Health Minister will provide further updates on the situation to which he is obligated.  

Another topic Minister Steele addressed was the issue of a cruise ship being turned away from Grenada.  

He says permission was not granted for the cruise ship to come to port because more than two percent of passengers were infected with a gastrointestinal outbreak, not respiratory.  

The Health Minister said: “It is normal, if a cruise ship has more than two percent of its crew infected, they would be denied the ability to come ashore and disembark all of its persons. Under two percent they are quarantined.”  

These updates were provided during a Post Cabinet media briefing on February 11, 2020.  

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: