More deaths from COVID-19 recorded in CARICOM countries, Jamaica approves use of remdesivir

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Story via CMC – Belize and Trinidad and Tobago recorded deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and Jamaica announced plans to procure supplies of the antiviral Remdesivir to treat the virus that has killed more than a million people worldwide and infected 38.2 million others.

The Ministry of Health in Belize said that 16 new cases of the virus had been detected over the past 24 hours, pushing the total to 2, 585, with 966 being active cases.

“Unfortunately we have two more deaths to report, one is in female in her 40s who had only minor symptoms and then died suddenly upon arrival at the Corozal Community Hospital. The second death was a male who had chronic kidney disease and was receiving dialysis,” the Ministry of Health said.

It said that the total number of people who have died is now 39.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Health said that 11 persons tested positive for the virus over the past 24 hours, pushing the tally to 5, 127. There are 1,661 active cases.

The Ministry said that the death toll climbed to 93 after an elderly female with pre-existing medical conditions passed away.

It said that there are now 59 recovered community cases.

In Suriname, currently 507 people have been quarantined. Health authorities said that as Tuesday evening, Suriname has 5,072 infections, including 95 active cases.

“In the past 24 hours, 14 of the 222 people tested positive for COVID-19. There are currently 38 people in hospitals, five in the intensive care unit and 48 positives in isolation. The death rate 107 remained stationary. In the past 24 hours, seven people have been declared cured. The total therefore rose to 4, 870,” the authorities said in a statement.

Two visitors who arrived in Barbados from the United Kingdom last week have tested positive for COVID-19.

Their cases were the only positive results among 435 returned by the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory over the past 24 hours and they have both been transferred to isolation.

The 66-year-old man, who arrived on British Airways on October 7, is asymptomatic, while a 76-year-old man, who arrived on Virgin Atlantic on October 10, is exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough, diarrhea and weakness.

Meanwhile, one person has been discharged from isolation after recovering from the viral illness. As a result, there are now 16 people in isolation.

Recorded cases stand at 210, comprising 113 females and 97 males. A total of 187 people have recovered from COVID-19.

In Jamaica, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said it would be procuring supplies of the antiviral Remdesivir through the National Health Fund, for the treatment of COVID-19 infection at public facilities.

In a statement, the Ministry said the procurement is based on the available scientific evidence that shows Remdesivir may be effective in the treatment of COVID-19. The drug has been shown to reduce the length of in-hospital stay by five days, and to reduce mortality rates by four per cent.

“However, the ministry wishes to advise the public that clinical trials are still ongoing in various countries. So far, the drug has not received full approval in any country and is being used under ‘Emergency Use Authorisation’ in some countries,” the statement noted.

“In Jamaica, while we await full registration approval in the country of origin, the drug can be used under the controls of a study or under an emergency license,” the ministry said, noting that it has issued a number of emergency permits for the importation of the drug.

This requires a letter from the prescribing physician indicating the need for this drug and including recognition of the responsibility for prescribing an unapproved drug as well as the consent of the patient to take an unapproved drug, the statement said.

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