The Opposition People’s National Party, PNP, is calling on the government to urgently activate a quarantine area in western Jamaica in light of the new coronovirus epidemic.

The PNP is calling for the activation of the centre because western Jamaica is a major gateway for travellers to the island.

Shadow Minister for Health, Dr. Morais Guy made the call in a press release today.

He says with the greatest number of arrivals to Jamaica entering through the western gateways including the Sangster International Airport and the major cruise shipping ports, Jamaica’s western belt must be adequately resourced to provide guaranteed protection against the virus.

Meanwhile, Dr Guy is questioning the availability of the isolation/treatment facility at the Cornwall Regional Hospital and its functionality in light of recent challenges and ongoing work at the location.

Dr. Guy is suggesting it would be more cost effective to relocate the present laboratories at CRH and reopen that specialized facility which was set up at the hospital for Ebola, as it was built with infection containment specifications.

Over the weekend, Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton announced that the St. Joseph’s hospital in Vineyard town, St. Andrew was being converted into a quarantine facility.

However the Minister has not yet announced a facility for the western end of the island.

Dr Guy says the distance between the island’s western gateways and the facility in Kingston will pose some challenges.

He said health workers, who in the main will be responsible for the transfers, as well as the general public must be protected, if infected persons are to be transported across the island to St Joseph’s.

The Shadow Minister also says the government needs to make all the requisite funding available to ensure proper containment of the virus, should it reach our shores.