#Jamaica – March 25, 2020 — The Government will be purchasing rapid test kits for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, said that the kits should arrive in the island within a few weeks.
He said that a protocol will be established to enable approved public health facilities to use the kits to test persons for the virus.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House on Monday (March 23).
He said that a lot of persons have been enquiring about getting rapid test kits to administer the test for themselves, but that would not be encouraged as the tests need to be done under a controlled setting.
Additionally, he noted that there are many rapid tests on the market whose effectiveness is questionable, and the Ministry has to ensure that the kits that will be used are “highly accurate”.
“We have appointed a small team and they have come back with a recommendation, and I think we’re now at the phase where we can acquire these kits and establish a protocol that will allow approved entities – more than likely, it will be our public health system, hospitals in selected parishes – to administer the test,” he said.
Dr. Tufton said that the protocol in the first instance, where someone is positive, “would mean a secondary test with the more accurate arrangements that we have at the Influenza Centre”.