A third person has been found to be infected with the virulent delta strain of the covid19 virus, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Sunday.
It said, “The patient is a recently returned national who travelled to Trinidad from Turks and Caicos, transiting through Florida. As per existing quarantine protocols, the national provided a negative PCR test, which was taken 72-hours prior to arrival. The national was immediately placed into state-supervised quarantine, as per the protocol for unvaccinated adults.
“As a result of the positive covid19 results from their seventh-day swab, the person was subsequently transferred and isolated in a state step-down facility. The presence of the delta variant was confirmed via gene sequencing at the laboratory of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI.”
Last Wednesday the ministry announced two nationals were found with the delta strain during routine testing during their stay in quarantine on returning to Trinidad and Tobago. One passenger had come from the US and the other from Mexico, via Panama and Guyana.
The statement reminded the public that since July 16, the Government had updated its quarantine protocols for people entering the country, and all returning adults who are not fully vaccinated against covid19 should spend 14 days in a state quarantine facility.
“These entry protocols will continue to be implemented.”
The statement said the WHO had said cases of the delta variant had been confirmed in 142 countries.
“Research has suggested that the delta variant is more easily spread from person to person as compared to previous variants, estimated to be 2-4 times more transmissible than the original Wuhan lineage of the virus. Additionally, evidence indicates that individuals who have contracted this variant may be prone to an increased risk of severe illness and hospitalisation.
“This variant may also lead to an increase in cases of covid19 in younger age groups and in those who have been previously infected.”
The minister reminded the population of the importance of being vaccinated against the covid19 virus as soon as possible.
“Additionally, members of the public are reminded to follow all of the recommended personal health protective measures, even if they are fully vaccinated.”
These include wearing a mask, keeping one’s distance and hand-washing/sanitising.
“WHO-approved covid-19 vaccines are safe, they are effective and they are available in TT. The public is encouraged to visit the Ministry of Health’s website (www.health.gov.tt) as well as the social media pages of the Ministry of Health and the regional health authorities for further information on covid19 vaccination.
“Appointments for first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are available online via www.ttvaccine.com or by calling 800-VACC (800-8222).”
The ministry issued a second statement on Sunday headlined, Retail business establishments will be allowed to operate on a temporary basis.
It said that under the Emergency Powers (No 2) Regulations 2021, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has authorised all retail business establishments to operate from Monday-Sunday, “until further notice.”
The statement said, “Operators, employees and customers of the above-mentioned establishments are advised to comply strictly with the other legal requirements of the Emergency Powers (No 2) Regulations, 2021, the public health guidelines and the legal requirements of the Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)] (No. 18) Regulations 2021.
The statement said the operations of the CEPEP Co Ltd and the Unemployment Relief Programme will resume with effect from Monday, under the three abovementioned regulations/guidelines.
“The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor this development and take steps to safeguard the health of the population.”