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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says wards at 19 hospitals will be retrofitted to house patients with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

He said that the management of the facilities “were asked to identify a ward that will be vacated and retrofitted to become a COVID-19 ward and that would include levels of isolation”.

Dr. Tufton was responding to questions posed by Opposition Spokesperson on Health, Dr. Morais Guy, following a statement on the virus in the House of Representatives on March 12.

He said the areas will be equipped with appropriate infrastructure, ventilators and intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which, he noted, are being procured.

“We are making some provisions to see how we can remove certain nonessential patients on the wards, and there will be others who can be treated from home so we can make these wards available.

“By now and next week, you will see the realisation of these wards that have been identified. These measures are being put in place, if and when we need them,” he said.

Jamaica has reported two imported cases of the COVID-19 to date. The virus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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