Some employees of the United States Embassy in Kingston are in self-quarantine after coming in close contact with a visitor who is reportedly now in isolation at a health facility in the Corporate Area over concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Loop News was reliably informed that the person, who was reportedly coughing excessively while at the embassy, is awaiting the results of tests for the virus. There is no indication that the person is infected. It is also not clear whether the development led to the embassy’s surprise closure on Wednesday.
However, one embassy employee who reported being in the meeting has informed that they were all asked to self-quarantine at home for the next two weeks.
The employee has expressed some concern, pointing out that they were within three feet of the individual.
On Tuesday, the same day Jamaica confirmed its first case of the disease, the embassy abruptly announced that the embassy would be closed on Wednesday.
In a statement now on its website, the embassy said:
“The Government of Jamaica has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All travelers entering the island with recent travel to China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, and Spain may be denied entry or will be subject to immediate quarantine or isolation if symptomatic.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the Consular Section at US Embassy Kingston is closed for routine services on March 11, 2020. The Consular Section will reopen on March 12, 20″.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton announced Tuesday that a Jamaican woman who also holds UK citizenship had tested positive for COVID-19 days after she arrived in the island to attend a funeral. She is now being treated in hospital and contact tracing is now taking place to determine how many people the woman may have come in contact with.
COVID-19, which has already killed some 4,000 people worldwide and infected over 100,000, has triggered global concern.
While the outbreak is easing in China, where the virus was first detected, fast-growing clusters have turned up in South Korea, Japan, Iran, and Italy, and the caseload is growing in the United States.