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UK Variant COVID-19 B.1.1.7. identified in TCI says Ministry of Health

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#TurksandCaicos – Press Release issued March 1, 2021 by TCI Ministry of Health: “Today, 27th February 2021, the Ministry of Health received the results of genomic sequencing which was conducted at the Caribbean Public Health Agency on samples from the TCI. 

Samples were sent by the National Public Health Laboratory in the TCI, from a selection of positive samples identified through PCR testing. Genomic analysis/sequencing was undertaken in order to identify whether any of the variants reported overseas, were in circulation in the TCI. 

Four samples were sent for analysis, one of which has been confirmed as the UK variant or B.1.1.7. This individual has completed quarantine and recovered. 

Today’s results were not unexpected due to the TCIs borders being open to international and regional travel as well as the recent increase and spike in the number of new cases reported locally, however, it does highlight the need for all TCI residents to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and one another through the use of face coverings, frequent hand hygiene, physical distancing and getting vaccinated. 

The COVID-19 virus like any other virus, can undergo mutations. This is well documented in viruses such as seasonal influenza (flu). The B.1.1.7. variant was first detected in the UK and was first sequenced in the UK in September 2020. A number of variants have been identified globally and there is concern that variants could cause additional challenges with controlling the pandemic. COVID-19 variants have been shown to spread more easily (more infectious), have a higher mortality rate and possibly may not be as responsive to the different vaccines being rolled out. This particular variant includes a mutation in the ‘spike’protein which is responsible for the more infectious characteristic described. 

Approximately 91,626 cases of the UK variant have been detected in England and Wales and it is responsible for the surge in cases seen in the UK since the end of 2020. It was first identified in South East England and since its identification, became the predominant strain in the UK with a preponderance to spread more rapidly between persons resulting in high case counts as well as having a higher rate of mortality. The UK variant or B.1.1.7. has been identified in a number of other countries including the US with cases being found in Florida which the TCI has close travel links, where it is becoming more and more prevalent.  

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which is being rolled out in the TCI to residents, has been shown to be effective against this variant, however the general public is reminded to be vigilant in adhering to all public health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the community. 

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FLOW CUSTOMERS BENEFIT FROM INCREASED SPEEDS

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New upload speeds to improve online gaming, video conferencing & Online Voice Calls

 

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, JUNE 24, 2022 – Flow TCI wishes to remind customers of a broadband speed increase to our existing broadband plans, which took effect on April 25th, 2022. An incremental rate increase for the new higher speed plans has taken effect.

The rates were increased by US$4 for the following plans and the download and upload speeds will increase by the following allotments:

All customers will be migrated from all previous fixed broadband plans to the new broadband Fibre to the Home plans. The new speeds will improve the overall broadband experience for all customers for online gaming, voice over IP calling, video conferencing, and social media usage.

For more information on our new Fibre to the Home plans, visit https://discoverflow.co/turks-and-caicos/broadband-overview for more details.

 

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2022 Hurricane Preparedness Exposition

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“Mission Ready – Pledge to Prepare; Be Smart Take Part”

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 23, 2022 – The Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) will be hosting its 3rd Hurricane Preparedness Exposition on 1st July 2022 from 10:00 am at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will feature booths from over twenty-five different agencies, partners and public safety officials this year. The event provides critical stakeholders with roles in disaster management an opportunity to interact with the public, demonstrate their services, and guide individuals and businesses on how they can prepare for this hurricane season.

The goal is to ensure residents are ready should a hurricane impact our region by offering a one-stop shop for the general public to gather helpful information and ask their hurricane and storm-related questions.

We ask all residents to come out and participate in this preparedness event. The event is free, fun and educational with tons of giveaways, including the chance to win a Graceway Smart Supermarket Hurricane Supplies Shopping Spree on 1st July 2022.

This venture also encompasses the principles of Public-Private Partnership, as it demonstrates the Disaster Risk Reduction commitment of the private sector in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It also highlight’s the Public Sector Department’s determination to ensure all major entities are involved in its goal of building a resilient country.

The Hurricane Preparedness Expo will be on Friday, 1st July 2022, at the Town Centre Mall, Parking Lot, Downtown, Providenciales, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. We look forward to your participation.

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PDM Slams Gov’t over Airport Shut Down

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 24, 2022 – The People’s Democratic Movement criticised the government for the recent shutdown at the Providenciales International Airport, maintaining that the strike was a repeat of “past actions that have not been addressed by the government of the day.”

There have been firefighter strikes under both the PDM (August 2019) and PNP (May 2021, June 2022) Administrations.

National Chairman of the PDM Ezra Taylor maintained that the strike was “indicative that their issues are not being addressed sufficiently. He expressed that if the issue was economic they should go to the House of Assembly and resolve it.

“While the government continues to brag about an economic boom in this country the citizens continue to feel economic pressure… compensation to our people is still marginal.”

Describing the firefighters as professionals Deputy Leader Robert Been said, “just like any other department, they deserve proper wages and proper working environments. It appears that the 15% salary increase wasn’t equal across the board. I am sure the firefighters communicated this before making their decision to strike. These kinds of situations can and could have been avoided by proper communication and mutual agreements by parties involved.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airport Authority has maintained there was no communication of the strike beforehand. Been said another group, the security officers, might soon be striking as well.  The TCIAA has confirmed this. Been lambasted the Deputy Premier.

“It makes me question the Deputy Premier when he makes statements about us living our best lives in Turks and Caicos.  I’m of the view that he’s just fascinated with the lyrics of the song because nothing has change to approve the lives of our people.” He further called on the government to, “Please take care of your people, please visit your department and find out issues, challenges, and concerns they may have to avoid repeats of today’s event.”

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