The Ministry of Health has reported that the P1 variant of the Sars-Cov-2 virus—the so-called Brazil variant—has been detected in a local Covid-19 positive patient.
In a statement to the media, the ministry said that the sample came from the Nariva/Mayaro County and was sequenced at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The statement also said that contact tracing had already begun but gave no indication of the source of the virus.
The P1 variant is considered a variant of concern as it has been seen to be more contagious and capable of re-infecting people who have had the original strain of the virus.
Experts also suspect that it could be deadlier than the original, though they say the data is not definitive.
The complete statement appears below:
The Ministry of Health advises the national community of the detection of a Variant of Concern (VOC) in a local sample which was sent to the University of the West Indies for genetic sequencing. The sample sequencing revealed the presence of the P1 variant (the Brazilian variant).
This was confirmed today, Monday 19 April 2021. The sample was taken from a COVID-19 positive patient in the Nariva/Mayaro County and was sent, via the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), to the University of the West Indies (UWI) laboratory.
The contact tracing required to restrict the spread of the virus has already begun. Additionally, the public is reminded that all quarantine protocols remain in place to ensure the continued protection of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
The public is encouraged to remain vigilant and to follow all public health guidelines as it relates to COVID-19:
- 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
- Clean then sanitise surfaces (e.g. tabletops, doorknobs and cell phones)