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Jamaican first to test positive for UK Coronavirus variant in Grenada


ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — A Jamaican who entered the country earlier this month has been confirmed as the island’s first case of the United Kingdom strain of the novel coronavirus.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Shawn Charles said on Tuesday that the Jamaican man in his 20s, who arrived on March 8, tested positive after five days in the country.

He said the man’s sample had a high viral load and was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency lab in Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry of Health received confirmation of the strain, the B117 variant, on March 26.

“The person will continue to be in isolation until medically cleared,” said Dr Charles during the weekly post-Cabinet briefing.

Various international studies have established that the UK variant is up to 90 per cent more transmissible.

“This is of concern to us because, as you are aware, these new variants are transmitted much more readily, they are much more infectious and many more persons can become infected, which can, in the long run, lead to more deaths,” Dr Charles told journalists.

Since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed here in March 2020, the island has recorded a total of 155 positive cases. There has been one death.

Presently, the Jamaican man is the only person in isolation.

Meantime, Grenada is continuing its COVID-19 vaccination programme which began on February 12. As of March 29, 10,084 people had received the jab.

The aim is to have between 60 and 80 per cent of the population immunised.

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