Jamaican Lab Staff to Get PAHO Training to Test for Coronavirus

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday February 11, 2020 – A team from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will arrive in Jamaica tomorrow to train local laboratory staff on how to test for the coronavirus.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, who made the announcement, said that by the following week, the local officials should have the capacity to test.

“This is very fortunate for us, because it’s not every country [that] is going to have that capacity, but because we have a National Influenza Centre that is located at the University of the West Indies, we are fortunate to be able to be given this opportunity to be able to do our own testing,” she said.

“In the interim, we have testing that is being done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).”

Dr Bisasor-McKenzie pointed out that CARPHA had its own training, and since last week is now able to test, and the sample taken from the person who recently returned to the island from China and was isolated yesterday, could be sent immediately to CARPHA.

Meanwhile, the PAHO/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Representative to Jamaica, Dr Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, applauded the Ministry of Health and Wellness for its preparedness and quarantine of persons returning to the island from China.

“I would like to commend the Ministry of Health and Wellness for the early and effective action they have taken,” she said.

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