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Jamaica can now test for Coronavirus

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#KINGSTON, February 18 (JIS):  Jamaica is now able to test for the coronavirus. Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, made the disclosure during a tour of the National Influenza Centre (NIC), based at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), on Monday (February 17).

            The development follows training of local laboratory staff by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) last week.


Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), tries out a thermal cycler while on a tour of the National Influenza Centre (NIC) at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) on Monday (February 17). Looking on (from second left) are Medical Chief of Staff and Consultant Neurosurgeon at the UHWI, Dr. Carl Bruce; Director of the NIC, Professor Monica Smikle; and acting head of the National Public Health Laboratory, Dr. Michelle Hamilton.

            The tests will be carried out at the NIC in collaboration with the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL).

            Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Dr. Tufton hailed the development of local capacity to test for the infection as “another positive” for the country’s public health system.

            “It is very good because we don’t have to send samples elsewhere, which would take a few days. We can now do the test… and decide how long we isolate people and if the isolation has to be elevated to the highest possible level,” he said.

            “We have to give credit to the medical team and the partnerships that we have established with our partners PAHO, the World Health Organization (WHO), and others,” he said.

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             Dr. Tufton assured that the Government is making every effort to build the capacity of the health system to protect the public, should the virus enter the island.

            For her part, Acting Head of the NPHL, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, said the NIC offers the most accurate test, noting that the results will be available within 10 hours.

            “Jamaica is at the cutting edge. Within two weeks of the international declaration of the [novel coronavirus] as a global health emergency, we are able to test,” she noted.

            Jamaica is among the first countries in the region to develop the capacity to test for the coronavirus.

Official name of Coronavirus

            While there have been no cases of the infection on the island to date,  the Health Ministry has been working closely with PAHO to enhance national preparedness and to strengthen the capacity of the national laboratory to detect the virus.

            Scores of kits have been issued and nine persons trained to boost the detection process.

                Meanwhile, the Ministry is advising the public to observe the standard infection prevention and control precautions, especially as it relates to viral respiratory illnesses.     These include frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and avoiding contact with persons who display symptoms.

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Caribbean News

Morgan Heritage Member dies

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#MorganHeritage#PeterMorgan, February 26th, 2024 – Peter Morgan, member of the Grammy Winning Jamaican Reggae Band Morgan Heritage, died on Sunday February 25th at the age of 46. His family made the announcement on Instagram, however the cause of his death was not mentioned. Morgan Heritage, an all family group, children to Jamaican reggae artist Denroy Morgan, was known for hits like “She’s Still loving me.”

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Local Govt Elections held

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Jamaica#LocalGovElections, February 26th, 2024 – Jamaica’s long awaited local government elections were held today February 26th, after being postponed on several occasions since November of 2020. Reports indicate that just over two million Jamaicans are eligible to vote and that the electoral system was well prepared with a total of 6,726 polling stations in 2,148 locations across the island, open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Voters selected from 496 nominated candidates across the island. The date for results is yet to be announced

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Caribbean News

Ariel Henry to Finalize Agreement with Kenya for Multinational Force – Could Bring Political Tensions.

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Haiti#Kenya#ArielHenry, February 26th, 2024 – Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry is flying to Nairobi Kenya on Tuesday February 27th, to finalize the paperwork with Kenyan authorities for the deployment of the multinational force. However, the legitimacy of anything he agrees to or signs is already being questioned because Haiti currently has no parliament and Henry should have demitted office since February 7.  

 

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