Barbados has recorded its first two cases of COVID-19, Health Minister Jeffrey Bostic confirmed this morning.

Two patients had both arrived from the United States – a 48-year-old visitor who arrived in Barbados on March 13 and a 39-year-old female, a Barbadian who recently returned home, he said in a nationally broadcast statement.

Confirmation was received this morning from tests carried out by the national public health laboratory, he said.

Lt. Col. Bostic said: “Both patients were experiencing symptoms of a viral infection and were referred to the team at the Ministry of Health for further evaluation.

“The Best Dos Santos public health laboratory informed us early this morning that samples taken from these patients were positive.”

He stressed that both patients are being managed for COVID-19 and have been in isolation where they are to remain until their recovery.

The patients were among 14 people tested yesterday; all the others tested negative for COVID-19, the health minister said.

He said the Ministry of Health has begun contact tracing to identify every individual who came into close contact with these two patients.

“These persons will all be placed in quarantine for 14 days,” he said.

The minister declared: “We are now at Stage one of our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and our primary focus is containment to prevent community spread.”

Lt. Col. Bostic urged citizens not to panic but to continue to follow precautions of proper hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.

He pledged to ensure that COVID-19 is contained and to do all in his power to prevent transmission of the viral illness throughout the country.