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Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram has dismissed rumors that there is a suspected case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in T&T.

The rumor, which began circulating around 8 am yesterday, was preceded by a voice note narrated by an alleged female nursing student who claimed the patient was at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.

The elderly Canadian man arrived at Piarco International Airport on Monday night via a direct flight from Canada.

Following the thermal screening process, a decision was made to have the man taken to hospital as he was exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

In a telephone interview, Parasram said the man, who was admitted via the Accident & Emergency, is being treated for an “Influenza-like illness.”

Meanwhile, he also confirmed tests are being done to definitively rule out the presence of COVID-19.

The sample was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing – for both influenza and COVID-19.

Parasram said while it will take between 24 and 48 hours before the results are received, the patient is being kept in isolation at the hospital.

He said while Canada is not a high risk country, the patient did not have a travel history to any of the other affected countries nor exposure to anyone who could have been exposed.

On Monday, health officials in Washington state reported that four more people had died, bringing the state’s death toll,and the nation’s, to six. Georgia reported its first two cases Monday, bringing the number of states with confirmed cases to 15.

The disease that emerged in central China has hit at least 70 countries, with 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths.

The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China.

While the number of new cases recorded daily in that epicenter country has declined for weeks, the virus continues to spread fast in South Korea, Iran and Italy, prompting increased travel warnings and restrictions.