BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - CHIEF Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws is this evening refuting statements circulating via social media that there is a confirmed case of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) in St. Kitts and Nevis.
CMO Laws in a media statement advised that the Ministry of Health was made aware of social media messages suggesting that a confirmed case of COVID-19 was identified. She described those post as being “absolutely false, and should be condemned for what it is”.
Anxiety has reportedly been raised in recent days when neighbouring islands confirmed cases of the virus, which can cause pneumonia.
However, despite media reports that a number of people who would have travelled to the federation via cruise vessels would have tested positive, there is no conclusive evidence provided that points to that being the case.
While strongly denouncing the post, the CMO said the messages are “malicious and mischievous” and is an attempt to “mislead”, and to create heightened levels of anxiety and fear among people.
“The general public is also hereby advised that when a first case of COVID-19 has been officially confirmed, such an announcement will be officially done via the Office of the Prime Minister, acting on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Hazel Laws, who is the Government’s chief technical advisor on Health,” the statement said.
St. Kitts and Nevis is among a handful of nations and territories that have no confirmed cases of the ailment, but health officials have urged people to brace for a possible outbreak as it is inevitable that it will make its way to St. Kitts and Nevis.
Currently there are 7, 965 deaths and 198, 177 confirmed cases of the virus, with Europe being described as the epicenter of the outbreak after cases in China have fallen rapidly.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, health officials have been seeking to educate people on proper hygiene as one of the methods to combat the spread of the virus, while, at the same time, urging people to not have large gatherings for social events.
“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis wishes that our COVID-19 Task Force continues to work tirelessly and proactively in our efforts to ensure that our Country is adequately prepared for the eventual presence of COVID-19 upon our shores. Please attend tonight’s special COVID-19 town hall meeting at 7:30 pm at Newton Ground Primary School, or tune in to the broadcast on your favourite station for reliable, true and accurate information regarding St. Kitts and Nevis’ national preparations for the novel Coronavirus,” noted Dr. Laws.
According to the World Health Organization, symptoms of the coronavirus include Runny nose, Sore throat, Cough, Fever, Pneumonia and Difficulty breathing in severe cases.