Majuro patient tests negative for Covid-19

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MAJURO — Hawaii laboratory tests for a suspected coronavirus case in the Marshall Islands are negative for the illness, reported the Ministry of Health and Human Services Saturday night.

“The results from the Hawaii State Lab were released today and the virus that causes Covid-19 was not detected,” said Health Secretary Jack Niedenthal Saturday. The patient, a 66-year-old man, had been identified as a “patient under investigation” Thursday after exhibiting some of the symptoms of the new coronavirus known as Covid-19.

This means there are currently no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of the Marshall Islands,” said Niedenthal.

The negative results for the Majuro patient follow similarly negative results for suspected Covid-19 patients in Palau and Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. announced the negative results for the visiting American female patient in Palau, while the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation announced the negative test results for a patient on Saipan.

Although the test of the Majuro patient came back negative, Niedenthal advised the public “to remain alert and continue to practice good hygiene to prevent contracting Covid-19.

“As the symptoms of Covid-19 are very similar to other respiratory illnesses (including colds and influenza) it is expected that with time the Ministry will identify more persons requiring investigation for Covid-19,” Niedenthal said. “This should not alarm the public as it is an indication of the high level of alertness and precautionary approach the Ministry is taking in response to this global outbreak.”

Earlier in the day Saturday, the Marshall Islands added Germany to its travel ban, which now contains eight nations from which travelers are banned from entering the Marshall Islands. The other countries and areas are China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran. All have experienced serious outbreaks of Covid-19.

Niedenthal urged “people not to travel to the Marshall Islands at this time.”

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