BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - JUNIOR Minister of Health, Wendy Phipps confirmed that two samples sent overseas for testing have returned positive for the deadly Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
In making the announcement today (Mar.25), the minister disclosed that the patients are a 57 year-old female and a 21 year-old male, both of whom live in the same household.
During her public address, Minister Phipps explained that both of the positive individuals are Kittitian nationals, with recent travel histories to New York – a jurisdiction, she noted, which, up until March 24, 2020 had recorded some 23,230 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The announcement of the confirmation comes one day after Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris announced an EC$120 million stimulus package, along with other measures to prevent an economic fallout from the virus.
Among the measures implemented is the closing of the borders to commercial flights.
“Our Government is advised that both patients arrived in the Federation on March 18, 2020, were tested on March 20, 2020, and have been in home quarantine ever since their return to the Federation. Both patients and their families have been duly notified,” she added.
Minister Phipps assures that efforts are now underway to prevent the possibility of community or local transmission.
Among the key measures being taken by the Ministry of Health are:
1) In-depth contact tracing in an effort to correctly assess the persons with whom both patients would have interacted;
2) Quarantine and monitoring of the contacts of the patients in order to ensure that they are handled as per WHO-approved protocols.
3) Based on data collected from contact tracing, containment of the infection would be executed in order to restrict spread of the infection in the local community.
The government assured that “this is not a time for panic and fear”.