T&T records first case of UK COVID-19 variant

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    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.