Trinidad records first case of UK COVID-19 variant

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Covid-19 coronavirus binding to human cell, conceptual computer illustration. SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (previously 2019-nCoV) binding to an ACE2 receptor on a human cell (not to scale). SARS-CoV-2 causes the respiratory infection Covid-19, which can lead to fatal pneumonia. ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) is a membrane-bound aminopeptidase, the key host receptor for the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 which serves as initial step in the development of coronavirus infection on a cellular level and a potential target for treatment strategy.

The Ministry of Health advised Thursday that Trinidad and Tobago has recorded its first confirmed case of the COVID-19 Variant of Concern (UK) – Variant B117.

The patient is a returned national who travelled from the United Kingdom. As per existing quarantine protocols, the 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 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 Government of Trinidad and Tobago updated its quarantine protocols for returning nationals from the United Kingdom from seven days to 14 days in state quarantine. This protocol will continue to be implemented and returning nationals from all other high-risk countries will be subject to seven days state quarantine and seven days home quarantine.

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