COVID-19 Variant of Concern B117 (UK Variant) found in Samples from 5 Persons Aboard Sea Vessel

Port of Spain, April 2nd, 2021: The Ministry of Health would like to bring to the attention of the national community the detection of Variants of Concern (VOC) in five (5) positive samples sent to the University of the West Indies for genetic sequencing. All five samples sequenced revealed the presence of the B117 variant (the UK variant).

These samples were taken from foreign nationals aboard a sea vessel on March 23rd, 2021. Upon receipt of the positive results; all five (5) samples were sent via the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Laboratory.

It must be noted that none of these persons were allowed to disembark the vessel as per the national quarantine protocol. Subsequently, the vessel left our waters on March 24th, 2021.

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 also reminded 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 sanitizer
 Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow
 Avoid touching your face
 Clean then sanitize surfaces (e.g. table tops, door knobs and cell phones)

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