Despite the country’s borders being closed since last year, the ‘Brazilian’ variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Trinidad and Tobago.
The nation’s health officials made the disclosure yesterday, noting that the variant was discovered after a sample from a COVID-19 patient was sent to the lab for testing.
According to the country’s Ministry of Health, genetic sequencing confirmed the presence of the P1 variant.
“The contact tracing required to restrict the spread of the virus has already begun,” said the ministry in a release. “Additionally, the public is reminded that all quarantine protocols remain in place to ensure the continued protection of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”
The ministry further noted that more details on the case would be provided on the matter at a press conference slated for tomorrow.
The P1 variant, also called the ‘Brazilian’ variant, was first detected on January 2, 2021 in four people who arrived in Tokyo from Brazil.
The Brazil-UK Centre for Arbovirus Discovery, Diagnosis, Genomics and Epidemiology (CADDE) later confirmed 13 local cases of the P1 new lineage in the Amazon rainforest.
This variant is considered to be twice as contagious as the original COVID-19, giving rise to the spikes in cases in Canada and Brazil. Scientists have recently reported that the variant appears to be mutating, and could complicate the global COVID-19 vaccination process.