Health Ministry urges end to COVID-19 misinformation

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Saturday, 28 March 2020. The Ministry of Health and Wellness is once again urging Jamaicans to refrain from sharing unsubstantiated information about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the island.

“Misinformation about COVID-19, whether it is shared deliberately or not, is a disservice to the national efforts to contain the spread of the virus and to save lives,” said Minister of Health and Wellness Dr the Hon Christopher Tufton.

“In fact, misinformation serves no other purpose than to fuel panic and foster anxiety among our people at a time when what is needed is for them to have accurate and timely information on which to make good decisions for themselves and their loved ones,” he added.

The Minister’s comments come in the wake of a statement issued by the University Hospital of the West Indies to dispel rumours that nurses at the hospital had tested positive for COVID-19.

“The UHWI can confirm that no staff member or healthcare worker has tested positive for COVID-19. The UHWI recognises that healthcare workers in all health facilities are at risk and we continue to operate with the highest level of care to safeguard the well-being of employees and the public,” the hospital said in its March 28 statement to the media.

“The UHWI, known for its high-quality care and advanced services, continues to provide care for all patients referred to the institution. We value all members of staff contributing to the provision of patient care in this challenging time,” the institution added.

Jamaica now has thirty-two (32) confirmed cases of COVID-19. None of the individuals in that number are doctors or nurses. Of the 32 confirmed cases, twenty-one (21) are imported cases and eight (8) are import-related. Three (3) are under investigation.

The island has so far tested 257 samples, including 61 that were tested for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections. Thirty-two (32) of the 257 tested positive and 221 tested negative. This represents a positivity yield of 12.5 per cent. Four results are pending.


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