Gov’t awaits advice on new strain of COVID-19 in the UK

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The government has been told by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to await more scientific information on the new strain of COVID-19 announced in the United Kingdom (UK) that has sent countries scrambling to put measures in place to guard against it. The new variant appears to be more transmissible, but there is no sign it is more deadly, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Several countries have banned travel from the UK. Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony Tuesday said Health officials will be meeting with stakeholders to apprise them of the new strain of the virus so persons are on the alert here.

“We have had some discussions with CARPHA yesterday and we are trying to get a consensus of the Caribbean position and how to react to this and our advice from CARPHA is we should wait a little bit to see what is happening and to get more scientific information before we make a decision,” the Health Minister said.

Two Caribbean countries –Jamaica and Grenada- are among countries that have already restricted flights from the UK.

Meanwhile, the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) has also suspended mail to the UK until further notice.

“GPOC will continue to monitor the situation globally and make the necessary adjustments to our service. We regret any inconvenience caused and we will continue to provide the necessary updates to our customers,” GPOC said in a statement.

Additionally, the BBC reported that the new strain detected by the UK’s use of genomic surveillance is also being reported in Denmark, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.

Some experts believe the new strain has already spread beyond where it has been reported.

In another development, travellers from South Africa are also facing bans from some countries after another new variant of the virus was discovered that is unrelated to the one found in the UK.

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