Sat | Jan 16, 2021

UPDATE: Why a Turks and Caicos patient was allowed landing in Jamaica

Published:Saturday | April 18, 2020 | 12:00 AM
A senior government official says all the protocols were followed to obtain the requisite exemption from the current order restricting incoming passenger traffic to Jamaica.

Damion Mitchell, Integration Editor

A senior Government official has sought to explain that a Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) patient was allowed to enter Jamaica on Thursday because he had an urgent medical emergency.

However, the official says all the protocols were followed to obtain the requisite exemption from the current order restricting incoming passenger traffic to Jamaica.

“It was for a life-saving procedure,” the official said.

The patient who has been treating cancer is now at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) after completing the procedure and has since tested positive for COVID-19.

As a consequence of the positive test, the head of surgery at the hospital has been quarantined.

It could not be immediately ascertained how many other health workers are in quarantine.

In a statement, the UHWI only said, all staff evaluation, assignment and quarantine have been done according to the hospital's protocol.

It also confirmed that on Thursday, it received the patient for advanced critical care, a service it usually provides to people of territories that contribute to the hospital.

The UHWI also said, on March 16 this year, it had treated the patient for bleeding gastric cancer and on March 26, he was released and sent back to the TCI.

According to the hospital, the patient subsequently had another operation in the TCI, however, he required further surgical attention that was not available there and so a request was made for him to come to Jamaica for the required medical attention.

"Based on the UHWI's screening form, at no time was the patient considered to be a COVID-19 patient, but out of an abundance of caution, the UHWI decided to test the patient," said a hospital spokesperson in the statement.

Recently, a group of Jamaican ship workers aboard the Marella Discovery 2 were not allowed landing because of the restrictions on passenger traffic.

The Prime Minister has said he learned about the matter a day after the ship had anchored south of Port Royal, and by then it had already left.

However, in a joint statement, the national security and foreign affairs ministries said they surmised the captain left because he could not be guaranteed landing.

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