The World Health Organization has confirmed that the disease, formerly referred to as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) has been officially renamed the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
To date, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean region.
As of February 21st , 2020, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment (MOHWE) has advised that in addition to persons arriving from mainland China, persons arriving from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and South Korea will also be quarantined for 14 days.
During the period February 7th to 20th, 2020, a total of 17 persons were quarantined. To date one person has completed the fourteen (14) day period, while 16 remain quarantined. As of February 22nd , 2020, no other persons have been placed under quarantine.
The Ministry wishes to highlight the fact that while quarantine and isolation are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of diseases, there is a significant difference between the two terminologies:
- Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of persons who are well and may have been exposed to a communicable disease like COVID-19. This is done to see if they develop signs and symptoms over the incubation period of the particular disease.
- Isolation is used to separate known ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases.
As we continue to increase our capacity, we implore the public to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment. Members of the public are advised to continue to take the following steps to avoid the spread of respiratory illnesses:
1. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
3. Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you do not have a tissue
4. Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
5. Thoroughly cook meat and eggs before consumption
The MOHWE will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 and other public health issues.
SOURCE: Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment