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…cautions citizens that new strain 50 per cent more transmissible
Trinidad and Tobago has confirmed its first case of the new COVID-19 variant from a national who returned home from the United Kingdom (UK).
On Thursday, the country’s Ministry of Health cautioned its citizens that the strain of the virus is said to spread more rapidly and it is therefore imperative that they continue to adhere to the social distancing guidelines in place.
“The Ministry of Health advises the population that Trinidad and Tobago has its first confirmed case of the COVID-19 Variant of Concern (UK) – Variant B117. The patient is a returned National who travelled from the United Kingdom. As per existing quarantine protocols, the national provided a Negative PCR test which was taken 72-hours prior to departure from the United Kingdom. Upon arrival in Trinidad and Tobago, the National was immediately placed in State quarantine, in a single room. The patient was transferred directly to an isolation area at the Couva Hospital and Multi-training Facility once the Positive COVID-19 result was confirmed,” the Ministry stated.
The country was able to detect the new strain via a gene sequencing study at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI). The facility has been testing COVID-19 positive samples since September 2020.
The Trinidad and Tobago Health Ministry cautioned citizens that the new strain poses a greater threat and only preventative measures can protect from rapid spread.
It urged: “Members of the public are asked to note that research has suggested that this strain of COVID-19 is more easily spread from person to person than pervious strains (estimated to be 50 per cent more transmissible). Thus, it becomes even more important for members of the public to follow all of the recommended personal health protective measures.”
Recently, the country updated its quarantine protocols for nationals returning from the UK. It includes 7 to14 day State quarantine. Returning nationals from high-risked countries are subject to 7 days State quarantine and 7 days home quarantine.