Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says that four passengers on the recent United Kingdom (UK) flight to Jamaica, have tested positive for the new strain of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Speaking at a virtual press conference, today (January 2), Dr. Tufton said the samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for further evaluation.
These passengers arrived on a December 21 flight, the same day the Government announced that it was restricting flights from the UK, due to an outbreak of the new COVID-19 strain there. Jamaica has restricted flights from the UK until January 31.
Passengers from the flight were quarantined and tested, and 20 passengers from the flight tested positive for the disease. The samples were then sent to CARPHA to find out if any had the new strain of the virus.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said that the first day of the year 2021 had a positivity rate of 23 per cent, which represents the highest positivity rate over the past eight weeks.
The Minister noted that in the last 24 hours, 513 samples were tested and there were 118 positive cases.
“This is very concerning to us. You would recall that based on the assessment of public health, and as a result of the increase in movement in the population due to international travel, and the celebrations for the Yuletide season, there’s an anticipation, as we had said, for the month of January,” he said.
“While it is early days yet, the trends are showing an uptick in the number of cases being reported, especially in the Western end of the island,” the Minister added.
Dr. Tufton said the parish of Westmoreland with 690 cases, is of great concern to the Government.
Jamaica now has 12,931 cases of COVID-19. There were 523 confirmed cases between December 18, 2020 and January 1, 2021.