Health Minister confirms UK COVID variant in Jamaica
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has revealed that the highly contagious United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus is in Jamaica.
The development was announced by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton at a press briefing at Jamaica House on Monday evening.
Tufton disclosed that seven of eight positive COVID samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad & Tobago were confirmed to be those of the UK variant of the virus.
The samples were randomly taken from the parishes of St Catherine, St James, Clarendon, Trelawny, Kingston and St Andrew.
The heath minister said the results were received on March 6 although they had been sent to the facility months ago for testing.
The long wait has forced the Government to search for options to ramp up testing for the strain.
Tufton stated that the Government is taking steps to establish its own testing facility for the new variants.
He said the equipment required to achieve this should cost approximately J$60 million.
Laboratories in Flordia are being eyed to help with additional tests for the variant, the minister stated.
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