Thursday 9 July, 2020

Coronavirus: Two suspected cases in Antigua and Barbuda

[iStock.com/SamanthaHeisz]

[iStock.com/SamanthaHeisz]

There are two suspected cases of the coronavirus in Antigua and Barbuda.

A statement from the Antiguan Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said as of today March 12, there are no confirmed cases, but two suspected cases are being thoroughly investigated.

The Ministry, in its press release, said: “Once the reports of the testing results are available, this information will be shared with the public."

The Antiguan government said preparations for testing to be done locally are at an advanced stage. It is believed this will allow for the swift diagnosis of potential cases.

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Meanwhile, the St John’s Medical Centre is urging citizens to remain calm and desist from sharing misinformation.

Earlier today the institution issued a statement which rubbished claims of an attempt to hide the fact that at least one patient at the hospital tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Regrettably, there are some people who are sharing information about the virus and our hospital which is false. Unfortunately, we will not be able to respond to every social media post but we thought it was important for the hospital to address this matter broadly in an effort to prevent any hysteria. Fighting misinformation is a joint-effort and we have to stay focused on our goal, which is keeping people safe and helping those who need care. We cannot do it alone. We need you to remain vigilant. Misinformation during this time can lead to paranoia and increased stigmatization and more seriously, people being left at risk,” the statement said.

 The St John’s Medical Centre said sharing unproven information is not without profound consequences.

Nationals of Antigua and Barbuda are being encouraged to work together to mitigate the spread of the virus should it reach their shores.

Representatives of the Pan American Health Organisation are expected in Antigua from March 16. While there, they will conduct meetings, site visits and simulation exercises to reinforce the islands response to the coronavirus.

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