The Ministry of Health wishes to provide the following Coronavirus- COVID-19 update as of Wednesday, 11March 2020:
- There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- There are currently 2 suspected cases whose samples have been sent for testing. Results are expected within a week.
- The suspected cases have been quarantined in their residences and the recent travel history of both are being reviewed.
- 6 persons are currently under quarantine in Providenciales: The suspected cases (2), relatives of a suspected case (2), persons travelling from a highly affected country—Italy (2). Relatives of a suspected case and the persons from Italy are all not exhibiting any symptoms but are being continuously monitored by the public health team.
- 1 person is under self quarantine—a contact of one of the suspected cases. This person is also not displaying any symptoms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today declared that COVID-19 novel Coronavirus is a pandemic – this announcement means that the spread of the infection has now reached global proportions. However, according to a statement issued by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, "Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do".
The Ministry of Health, supported by the wider TCIG, has already activated and aggressively scaled up protocols and response mechanisms to deal with the threat of COVID-19 and, as indicated by the WHO Director General, this declaration of a pandemic does not change those protocols at the moment.
However, we would like to remind everyone that this situation should not be taken lightly and individuals MUST BE PREPARED. Like other countries, the TCI is focusing on four (4) key areas to fight this pandemic:
(1) Prepare and be ready;
(2) Detect, protect and treat;
(3) Reduce transmission;
(4) Innovate and learn.
We will continue to communicate with the public regularly to ensure that the most relevant and updated information is available. Some of the steps being taken to ensure that we are ready to fight this threat includes:
-Readying our hospitals,
-Refresher training for our health workers and other frontline staff to protect themselves,
-Engaging with communities so they understand the risks and how to protect themselves.
We must remind everyone that we are in this together, we can and must do the right things with calm preparedness to protect everyone. Please continue to follow and share advice and information from the Ministry of Health and other government agencies.
We once again encourage the public to seek information from official sources; handwashing and other hygiene practices remain the most effective way of preventing the risk of spreading the virus. Mitigating the impact of this virus is achievable – let’s be prepared and stay safe.
For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health website, www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus, or call our hotline numbers, (649) 232-9444 and (649) 333-0911, if you or someone you know has symptoms or signs of COVID-19.