Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, is appealing to persons who have entered the island since the lifting of the travel restrictions to immediately report any symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to the relevant health authorities.
These symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough or decreased sense of smell or taste.
“We have seen where persons have returned home, developed symptoms but have not reported it and in the period of time when they are at home, they transmit the virus to other family members,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie noted while addressing a JIS Think Tank on Thursday (June 25).
The CMO indicated that between June 1 and June 25, more than 10,000 persons have entered Jamaica, and with most countries experiencing active transmission, the risk that persons returning may have been exposed to COVID-19 is high.
She said that family members, in particular, need to be careful and bear in mind that their relatives may have been exposed to the virus while overseas.
“We can’t differentiate between who has COVID and who doesn’t have it at all times. It is only when persons have symptoms that many persons are suspicious, but if they are coming from an area where there is a possibility of exposure then you must consider that person may have COVID,” she pointed out.
The CMO noted that the longer persons stay in their homes with symptoms, the more likely it is that they will infect their relatives and friends so every person must take the precautions and report symptoms early.
This vigilance, she said, also applies to those who may have been tested and are awaiting results, as persons tend to develop a sense of complacency at that time.
Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie stressed that the best way to fight COVID-19 is for everyone to take personal responsibility.
“Here in Jamaica, as well, we also have incidents of COVID-19 disease, so it is, therefore, important that we all assume that everybody could have COVID and take the necessary precautions at all times,” she added.