The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is today advising that this morning, one of its employees at the Consulate General in New York tested positive for the Covid-19 Virus. She is a locally recruited member of staff born in Jamaica but a naturalized US citizen, and is presently receiving treatment within the US public health system. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith stated.
We had hoped that this day would not come, and in fact based on the massive overnight increase in numbers in New York State and Manhattan, we had already begun upgrading the protective measures already in place, to move to full closure of the Consulate.
I have therefore approved immediate closure for sanitization of the office, and home quarantine of all staff for 14 days.” “We will be asking our community served by the Consulate General to be understanding and to only call for emergency purposes as switchboard numbers will be forwarded to members of staff now in quarantine, and we want to ensure that those who most need support are able to get through.”
Minister Johnson Smith continued to explain that the Consul-General Alsion Roach Wilson was managing the circumstances effectively, ensuring that all appropriate arrangements are made, that all staff had already been advised to go home or stay home as relevant, and that all who had been in close contact with their colleague should self-isolate and call their doctors for guidance on their next steps.
The Consul-General will however also have to seek medical advice. She added that the entire Ministry team is praying for the staff member’s quick recovery and for the health and safety of all members who serve overseas.
In closing, Minister Johnson Smith indicated that in addition to the overseas missions which had closed consular services to the public on Monday, all others would now be fully closed to the public with rostered duty and work from home where possible.
The Permanent Secretary is communicating with Heads of Mission to ensure they act appropriately in their circumstances, and that the relevant notices are posted for their public’s awareness.