Jamaica today welcomed 140 Cuban medical professionals to support the island’s national response efforts for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The team, which will be in quarantine for 14 days before beginning work, is comprised of:
- Ninety (90) specialist nurses, including for critical care, emergency, medical, surgical and primary care;
- Forty-six (46) doctors, including internists and haematologists; and
- Four (4) therapists.
“What we are witnessing is a continuation of the friendship between Jamaica and Cuba. In a time of crisis, in a time of emergency that we have with COVID-19, the Cuban Government, the Cuban people have risen to the occasion. They have heard our appeal and they have responded,” said Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton.
The Minister was at the Norman Manley International Airport to welcome the Cubans.
“We are elated to have the 140 medical professionals coming in from Cuba. They will be deployed to a relevant post somewhere in the country as a part of strengthening our frontline team, in anticipating that we will have to treat more persons in our hospitals,” Tufton noted.
Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, Inés Fors Fernández, said that her country was happy to provide the support.
“When Jamaica called, Cuba said yes. We are here to support Jamaica,” the ambassador said.
The arrival of the Cuban medical team is one in a variety of measures being taken by Jamaica to contain the spread of COVID-19 on the island. They include:
- The closure of Jamaica’s sea and airports, effective 11:59 pm on March 21 and announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Friday, March 20;
- The closure of schools for 14 days, beginning Friday, March 13;
- The 14-day community quarantine of Seven and Eight Miles, Bull Bay; and Corn Piece Settlement in Clarendon beginning March 13 and March 19 respectively.
Other measures have included the travel restrictions from a variety of countries, notably China, the United Kingdom, Iran, Singapore, Spain, the Republic of Korea, Italy, France, and Germany.