Release Date: March 17, 2020

The Montserrat Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) today confirmed the country’s first imported case of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The patient travelled to Montserrat on March 10th, 2020 on British Airways flight (BA 2157) from London to Antigua, before arriving on Montserrat. The patient subsequently developed symptoms consistent with the disease.

On learning on the 13th from the Antiguan authorities that a passenger on that flight had fallen ill with the COVID-19, the MOHSS activated its outbreak investigation protocol to locate, assess and quarantine all passengers on the said flight.

Samples from three individuals were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) lab for testing. “Today we received confirmation from CARPHA that one patient tested positive for COVID-19. The patient in isolation, and is being treated and closely monitored,” stated Minister of Health and Social Services, Hon. Charles T. Kirnon.

The Ministry of Health noted that the patient is doing well and will remain in isolation until given the all clear by doctors following the isolation period and further testing.

The MoHSS recognizes that people are concerned and is reassuring the public that it is continuing to implement measures in the best interest of the public.

“To date we have monitored patients and close contacts in the home of those presently quarantined; contact tracing is ongoing to identify all possible exposed persons; restricted visiting at the hospital and senior citizens’ homes; limited and flexible public sector working; closed schools and banned public gatherings of more than 50 persons”, stated Minister Kirnon.

The Ministry of Health and Social also reminded the public that, they should:
• Refrain from public gatherings
• Maintain social distance
• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitizer
• Non-essential travel is also discouraged.

The Ministry of Health is urging the public to adhere to these risk mitigation measures and to take all necessary precautions against contracting COVID-19.

The risk can be reduced by practicing frequent hand washing, covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or your flexed elbow and avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses.

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