St. Kitts and Nevis confirms first two cases of COVID-19 disease; every effort being made to prevent communal transmission

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 25, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has confirmed its first two cases of the COVID-19 disease (novel coronavirus), as a 57 year-old female and a 21 year-old male, both Kittitian nationals, tested positive for the virus.

The positive tests were confirmed on the evening of Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

In a national statement on the situation, Minister of State with responsibility for Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps stated that both patients, who have recent travel histories to New York, USA, arrived in the Federation on March 18, 2020 and were tested on March 20 and have been in home quarantine ever since their return to St. Kitts and Nevis.

Minister Phipps sought to remind the public that the infection of both patients is travel-related, “meaning that the cases of COVID-19 were imported into the country.”

The minister further noted that every effort is now being taken to prevent the possibility of community or local transmission of the virus.

Three main measures are being taken in this regard: One, these are in-depth contact tracing in an effort to correctly assess the persons with whom both patients would have interacted; two, quarantine and monitoring of the contacts of the patients in order to ensure that they are handled as per WHO-approved protocols, and three, 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.

Furthermore, plans are being put in place to fully execute the National Pandemic Virus Plan that has been approved in response of COVID-19.

“This is not a time for panic and fear. In fact, the opposite is required of all of us: we are called upon to remain calm and to follow the advice of the Ministry of Health, which is the official national authority on health information related to the novel coronavirus,” Minister Phipps stated.

She said The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has pledged to do everything in its power “to maintain and protect the health, wellness and quality of life of our people.”

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