Jamaica Records First Coronavirus Death

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan, addressing a press conference where the death was announced.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday March 19, 2020 – The Government has reported that Jamaica has recorded its first death from the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Dunstan Bryan disclosed yesterday that the victim was a 79-year-old man who travelled to New York. He also had diabetes and hypertension.

The elderly man was one of two patients who tested positive for the virus during the 24 hours preceding the announcement.

Jamaica now has 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Bryan said the deceased had presented to the Lionel Town Hospital on Monday with fever, cough and shortness of breath.

He was subsequently transferred to the Mandeville Public General Hospital where he was isolated and treated, and had showed signs of improvement on Tuesday. But he died during the process of being transferred from the Mandeville Hospital to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) at approximately 3 p.m. yesterday.

The man’s passing brings to four the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the region. One each was recorded in Guyana, the Cayman Islands and the Dominican republic.

After the Ministry of Health press conference announcing the first Jamaica COVID-19 fatality, the son of the deceased told local media that his father did not die from the virus that was first seen in China in November last year before spreading quickly across the globe.

He insisted in an interview with the Jamaica Observer newspaper that his father had died from pneumonia, and the family was considering taking legal action against authorities who linked his death to COVID-19.   

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