Health Ministry to report whether UK coronavirus variant is in Antigua and Barbuda


Antigua News Room-The country will soon learn whether the variant of the SARS CoV-2 virus that was first discovered in the United Kingdom in September is present in Antigua and Barbuda.


That’s according to Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, who said that research was being conducted to identify the most common strains of the virus in the Caribbean region.


SARS Cov-2 is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.


At a press conference held last week Wednesday, Sealey-Thomas said, “So far, there have been hundreds of variations of this virus identified worldwide and PAHO/WHO have been following them closely.”


“The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in association, in collaborating with the University of the West Indies, they will be doing sequences of the SARS CoV-2 virus that would have been circulating in the region including Antigua and Barbuda”, the CMO revealed.


“So, in a few days, we’ll be able to know what variant has been circulating in Antigua and the region and whether or not the variant that they have identified so far has been in Antigua and Barbuda and certainly we’ll be bringing that information to the public”, she added.


Based on how fast the new variant, B.1.1.7 became the dominant strain in Britain, some scientists believe it may be more easily transmitted than previous variants.


However, the CMO said at a meeting with the WHO last Wednesday, “it was emphasized that it has not yet been proven that that is in fact so but because of the nature of COVID-19, they are being very cautious and they are treating the virus, this new variant, as if it is more transmissible.”


Sealey-Thomas noted there were also “no reports of poorer clinical outcomes with the new variant, no higher mortality and what that means is that they have not noticed that persons with this variant are dying more frequently than other persons with COVID-19, and no specific population group would have been affected so it apparently affects all populations equally.”


Nevertheless, the CMO said, “We do receive flights from the United Kingdom so, of course, in the Ministry of Health we are concerned that the possibility exists that this variant can be introduced into Antigua and Barbuda, if not here before.”


However, the concern was not great enough for the country to ban flights from the UK and Minister of Health, Molywn Joseph said he anticipated that trade between Antigua and Barbuda and the UK will continue as normal.


“Any transmission, especially this new variant of the virus SARS CoV-2, in our estimation, will be successfully managed by the Ministry of Health and all the other Ministries involved by applying the same set of protocols and rules governing the ports of entry in Antigua and Barbuda”, the Health Minister said.


“Like most of the things associated with SARS CoV-2, there aren’t too many conclusions about this virus, even now. What we can conclude, having had to manage this over the last 9, 10 months, is that the use of masks is one of the most effective ways of reducing transmission of this virus, whether it is the new variant or what existed before”, Joseph said.


He also emphasized the importance of frequent handwashing and physical and social distancing.

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  1. Sealey-Thomas and Molwyn are so dunce……..they are imposing bid country rules in Antigua…..they have no minds of there own…….everywhere else qurantine is less………rules are with the times…..I guess they have to fill their pockets out of this too. Which Syrian purchase the bracelets for us to be enslaved? Let us know.

  2. I don’t understand the link between slavery and the electronic devices. How is ensuring that ppl don’t go out and infect the general public akin to slavery?

    To Dr Sir Molwyn and his trusty sidekick CMO, please explain the science behind banning travel from the Dominican Republic until end of March, 2021, while continuing to allow travel from the UK. If we had a significant amount of tourists originating in the Dominican Republic, would the rules be different? This woman (CMO) does not have a single shred of credibility

    • I think there’s a whole lot that you don’t understand besides the link between slavery and the bracelet .Do you even know what’s going on . Ensuring that people don’t go out and infect the public ? So I guess the white folks don’t have Covid . Is there something wrong with you the ignorance that comes out of your mouth is an embarrassment .

      • U r living proof that there is no cure for stupidity. Ur diatribe did nothing to explain ur link between the electronic devices and slavery.

  3. Ok and if the United Kingdom variant of the covid virus is here in Antigua what next? Will the curfew hours be increased and the State of Emergency noose tightened some more and perhaps extended beyond March 2021?

  4. Melchisedec
    December 29, 2020 at 6:33 am
    INDIA six (6) tourists from the UK landed in India and tested positive with the new strain of COVID19.

    JAMAICA twenty (20) tourists from the UK landed in Jamaica and tested positive for COVID19.

    SWITZERLAND 420 UK tourist breached self quarantine order to avoid mandatory 10 days isolation.

    BARBADOS four (4) tourists from the UK landed in Barbados and tested positive for COVID19.

    Please not all of the above arrived at their destination with negative COVID19 results.

    Mean time ST Kitts has the lowest infection rate in this hemisphere however Antigua with Sir Molwyn has all the firsts and are leading the pack to the point where Antigua has become the example of what not to do

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