The Ministry of Health has reported the first confirmed case in Trinidad and Tobago of the Covid-19 variant, variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom. The variant has been found to be more transmissible than previous strains of the Sars-COV-2 virus. The full press release appears below:
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 presence of the variant was confirmed via a gene sequencing study at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the University of the West Indies, which has been testing Covid-19 positive samples collected since September 2020.
The population is reminded that previously, the government of Trinidad and Tobago updated its quarantine protocols for returning nationals from the United Kingdom from 7 days to 14 days state quarantine. This protocol will continue to be implemented and returning nationals from all other high-risk countries will be subject to 7 days state quarantine and 7 days home quarantine.
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 previous strains (estimated to be 50% more transmissible). Thus, it becomes even more important for members of the public to follow all of the recommended personal health protective measures:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you go out in public
- Keep your distance from others (6 feet)
- Stay home if you are ill
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow
- Avoid touching your face
- Sanitize hard surfaces (e.g. tabletops, handrails, doorknobs and trolleys) as often as possible.
The Ministry of Health will host a virtual conference tomorrow, 22 January 2021 at 11am to provide the public with additional information.