T&T gets first case of coronavirus COVID-19

Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh addresses a news conference on Thursday.

Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh has confirmed the first case of coronavirus COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

The announcement was made at a news conference at the Ministry of Health that began at 4.15 pm today.

“At 2.45 pm today we got confirmation of our first case of coronavirus from CARPHA,” Minister Deyalsingh said.

He identified the person as a 52-year-old male who flew into the country from Switzerland on Monday. He said the person has been in self-isolation. However, he added that he will be transferred to the Caura Hospital.

The minister said the person contacted their healthcare professional on Wednesday and CARPHA today contacted him and said, “we have our first case of COVID-19.”

The minister said the family is in isolation and that contact tracing began on Wednesday.

“It is a mild case,” he said.

The announcement came one day after a 52-year-old woman died in Guyana from the virus. St Vincent and the Grenadines also announced its first case yesterday and Jamaica also announced its second case.

As of this morning, just over 50 people were tested for coronavirus in T&T.

Earlier today, Caribbean Airlines advised that a passenger who travelled on March 07, 2020, on BW 521 from John F. Kennedy, International Airport, New York to Piarco International Airport, Trinidad in transit (on the same day) to BW 526 from Piarco International to Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Guyana subsequently tested positive for COVID19 at a public health facility in Guyana.

“Caribbean Airlines assures all stakeholders that the safety, security and good health of its customers and employees is its highest priority and when the information on the passenger was received, immediate action was taken,” the statement said.

It added: “In accordance with established protocols the Public Health Authorities have advised that as a precaution, the thirteen (13) crew members associated with the flights be placed on self-quarantine for a period of fourteen (14) days. This was done, and the employees will be assessed and monitored by the Public Health Authorities in keeping with the directives from the Ministry of Health.”

The airline said that Public Health Authorities are also contacting all persons who may possibly have been affected.

It said the company’s aircraft are cleaned daily at all ports in keeping with industry standards.

CAL said that further, in this instance additional sanitization processes were used as outlined by the regulatory authorities.

“The airline remains in close contact with the Public Health Authorities and its operations team has activated contingencies for any impact on its flights,” CAL said, adding, “Caribbean Airlines assures all stakeholders that it continues to actively monitor and respond to the evolving COVID 19 issue to ensure the safety and good health of its customers and employees.”

The global death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 4,600.