Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health officials have confirmed their first case of the highly infectious UK COVID-19 variant.

In a statement on Thursday the T&T Ministry of Health advised the country of the discovery of the COVID-19 Variant of Concern (UK) – Variant B117.

“The presence of the variant was confirmed via a gene sequencing study at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, which has been testing COVID-19 positive samples collected since September 2020,” the two-page statement said.

So far 55 countries have reported cases of the new strain. Several countries, responding to the announcement of the new strain earlier this month, banned flights from the UK.

Cayman last week implemented new restrictions requiring a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure for all incoming travellers. This is in addition to testing upon arrival and a 14-day quarantine.

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In the Trinidad and Tobago case, the patient was a returning national who had travelled from the UK.

“As per existing quarantine protocols, the [T&T] 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 T&T Ministry of Health statement said.

Trinidad and Tobago had updated its quarantine protocols for returning nationals from the UK from seven days to 14 days isolation at a government facility.

However, the ministry said, “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.”

The Cayman Compass reached out to the Cayman Islands government and the Pan-American Health Organisation for comment on this developing story but had not received replies by press time.

Check back for updates.

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