Revelers who booked their flights and were eagerly anticipating Jamaica Carnival 2020 are now waiting with bated breath following confirmation of the country’s first imported case of Coronavirus on March 10.

The initial announcement was made by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton during an emergency press briefing.

Following the announcement, Jamaica’s band houses; Bacchanal Jamaica, Xodus and Xaymaca International disseminated their own release advising revelers that it is in discussion with the government to determine the best way forward.

According to the release, consultations are being held to determine the precautions to be adopted over the next few months as well as the implications for both the entertainment and tourism industries.

The bands are however reassuring masqueraders that they are optimistic and are in full operation mode.

First Case

Speaking at the press briefing, Minister Tufton indicated that the confirmed patient is a Jamaican female who travelled from the United Kingdom on March 4.

The Minister says she was presented to the public health system on March 9 and has been in isolation since then. However, he says based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, health professionals suspected COVID-19. 


The patient and her family members have since been informed.

Minister Tufton says, the ministry has already started to trace the patient’s steps over the last couple of the days. 


Travel Restrictions

The Health Minister has also indicated that further travel restrictions have been imposed. Previously restrictions had been placed on travel to and from China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore and Iran. As of today, Spain, France and Germany will see restrictions being imposed.

Participation in International Events

Meanwhile, Jamaica will also opt out of this year’s Penn Relays as the concerns surrounding the spread of the virus increase. 

Minister Tufton indicated that discussions will also have to be held on the 2020 staging of ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships.

Quarantine Worries

Today’s confirmation comes as the Jamaica Constabulary Force reports that a quarantined individual who yesterday fled from the Coronavirus quarantine centre in Kingston has been captured.

The individual, who has been been identified as 27-year-old Kemar Bailey ran away from the COVID 19 quarantine center after requesting and being allowed to pick up a package at the gate of the institution. A decision which already has social media in an uproar as persons question the reasoning behind allowing a quarantined individual to come in contact with outsiders.

Minister Tufton says since then, efforts are being made to ensure the incident is not repeated.


In the interim, the Ministry of Health is encouraging the public to adhere to infection prevention and control measures including but not limited to:

  • Maintaining a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing 
  • Frequently performing hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer if hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Covering mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discarding it
  • And resisting the habit to touch faces.

According to the Centre for Disease Control, (CDC) the CoronaVirus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China with the first infections linked to a live animal market. The virus has since evolved and is now spreading from person-to-person.

As at March 10, there have been 118,830 reported cases of CoronaVirus with 4,269 reported deaths and 65,105 persons having recovered. 49,456 cases are currently active.

Symptoms of CoronaVirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These may appear at any time between 2 and 14 days of exposure.