At least 55 persons have been refused entry to Jamaica since the island first imposed travel restrictions several weeks ago amid fears of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, according to Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.

Tufton this morning provided an update on the virus while speaking at a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Management Disaster Risk Council at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew.

“We felt that in the initial stages of the virus spreading globally, we needed to at best delay the virus coming into the country, so it was a very deliberate strategy to restrict wherever we felt in terms of the risk assessment that the possibility of the virus touching down in Jamaica with us being the main vector, of course, carrying it in…then we would take the necessary restrictions,” Tufton said.

He also revealed that 77 persons who were granted landed were sent home for monitoring, while 62 were quarantined.

A further six persons are in isolation at public health facilities.

Tufton said up to at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 23 persons are still quarantined, while one individual remains in isolation.

In January, Jamaica imposed travel restrictions on China, the epicenter of the deadly virus, and last week the ban was expanded to Italy, South Korea, Singapore and Iran.

The COVID-19 virus, which was first reported from Wuhan, China in December 2019, has thus far claimed the lives of over 3,300, with nearly 97,000 people infected in 81 countries.


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