Health Minister Carvin Malone has indicated that when testing for new strains of COVID-19, the BVI will be seeking help from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
He said the territory’s lab doesn’t have the testing capacity to identify these new strains.
“Because of the uniqueness and complexity of this [new strain], CARPHA has made provision for all of the participating nations to send their samples to them so that they can have them properly analyzed. Either that or we’ll have to send them to the UK, which will take longer,” Malone explained while addressing the House of Assembly on December 31.
The Health Minister said the BVI has already identified samples to be sent to CARPHA for testing to identify circulating strains in the territory and the region.
A new strain of COVID-19 has been identified in the UK and has forced the BVI to issue a travel ban against the country, which will come into effect on January 11.
The new strain has also been identified in The Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia.
According to Minister Malone, the new strain is currently thought to cause more infections and not necessarily a more severe disease.
Current evidence shows that PCR testing, treatments, and vaccine are unchanged when compared to the other circulating strains.
“However, if introduced into the territory, it has the potential to cause more disease and greater strain on already tight resources,” Minister Malone explained
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