T&T has confirmed its first case of the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus according to the Health Ministry.
In a media release, it says Variant B117 has been found in a returned national who travelled from the United Kingdom.
The Ministry says, as per existing protocols, the national had provided a negative PCR test which was taken 72-hours prior to departure from the United Kingdom.
It says the national was immediately placed into state quarantine on arrival in T&T in a single room and was transferred to an isolation area at the Couva Hospital 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, University of the West Indies.
The Ministry is reminding that T&T updated its quarantine protocols for returning nationals from the United Kingdom from 7 days to 14 days state quarantine.
It is warning that research has suggested that this strain of COVID-19 is more easily spread from person to person than previous strains.
It believes this makes it even more important for the public to follow 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 sanitizer
- Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow
- Avoid touching your face
- Sanitize hard surfaces (e.g. table tops, hand rails, door knobs and trolleys) as often as possible.
A media conference will be held tomorrow at 11am to provide additional information.