Covid-19, the illness that broke out in China and has claimed 3,000 lives globally since late 2019 has reached the Caribbean.
On Sunday, health officials in the Dominican Republic said that a tourist visiting from Italy had tested positive for the virus
It is the first case of the illness — also known as coronavirus — in the Caribbean.
The patient is a 62-year-old man, and Health Minister Rafael Sanchez, the health minister in Santo Domingo, said that the man was in stable condition in an isolation room in a military hospital.
Another tourist, a 56-year-old man from France, is under observation in the hospital and awaiting test results for the virus.
The illness the virus has so far infected more than 89,000 people across 58 countries.
The development comes two days after the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) announced that a 14-day quarantine had come into effect for all persons arriving from Italy.
In Italy, the death toll stood at 34 on Sunday, while the number of infections had risen 50% to 1,694, compared to the previous day.
Italy joins China, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea as the country for which the quarantine measure has been imposed.
The ministry reiterated there are no cases of COVID-19 in SVG.
To date 17 persons have completed the 14-day quarantine period in SVG.
They include three persons who tested negative for COVID-19 after two of them were noted to have low-grade fevers.
Three persons remain quarantined having arrived in SVG from Japan and Italy.
“The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment thanks the general public, our partner stakeholders and our visitors for your support as we work together to keep us healthy,’ a statement said.
The ministry said that the public is advised to continue to take the following steps to avoid the spread of respiratory illnesses:
1. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze;
3. Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you do not have a tissue;
4. Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
5. Do not go to school of work when you have the flu.
“The MOHWE will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 and other public health issues,” the statement added.
In January, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) said that the risk of Covid-19 in the Caribbean was “low”.