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Ministry of Health confirms a single case of Mu COVID-19 variant 

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#TurksandCaicos, September 9, 2021 – A single individual has been identified with the Mu variant in the TCI. This result was included in the last batch of results received from the Caribbean Public Health Agency for sequencing on 30th July 2021. At the time, the variant was listed among 8 other results received in which identified 4 cases of the delta variant. The individual has since recovered.
Viruses are known to mutate and result in variants which may have different characteristics.
The delta variant remains the dominant variant circulating in at least 170 countries since it was first identified in October 2020 and has rapidly spread and is highly transmissible. It may also be associated with more severe disease.
The mu variant or B.1.621, was added to the WHO’s list of variants “of interest” only last week and has mutations which may indicate that it can evade the immune protection provided by natural infection or vaccination. The mu variant was first detected in Colombia but has now been confirmed in over 39 countries. This variant is being closely monitored along with other variants of interest in order to determine whether it will be classified as a variant of concern along with the four main variants of concern which are the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants.
SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 variants, if considered to have concerning epidemiological, immunological or pathogenic properties, are raised for formal investigation. At this point they are designated Variant Under Investigation (VUI). Following a risk assessment, they may be designated Variant of Concern (VOC).
Vaccines remain critical to the overall response to the COVID19 pandemic and are still shown to be effective in reducing the risk of contracting COVID19 as well as preventing hospitalization and death including against the circulating variants.
The Ministry of Health reminds the general public of the importance in following public health advice including;
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet between persons
  • Wear face coverings in public settings (covering nose and mouth)
  • Avoid mass gatherings or crowds
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or use disposable tissues
  • Comply with public health measures
  •  Stay home where possible, especially if you are a member of the vulnerable group
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 which include; cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell-please stay home and contact the Health Hotlines on 232 9444 or 333 0911
  • Do not visit health care facilities if you have symptoms or signs of COVID-19, call the Health Hotlines for guidance unless your symptoms are severe
  • If you are under quarantine by the Public Health Team, please remain at home and comply with the guidance provided to you.
  •  If you are contacted by the Public Health Team as a part of contact tracing activities, please provide all of the information requested to assist them in their investigations
  • Get tested-visit your community testing sites for free testing offered by the Ministry of Health
  • Stay informed with the latest information from the Ministry of Health by visiting our website on https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus/

Health

Over 5000 COVID cases on Cruises, CDC investigations launched

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#January 15, 2022 – Cruises have continued across the Americas despite the US Centers for Disease Control dire warning that even vaccinated individuals should be wary of them. Now the CDC informs that Coronavirus cases have been reported on every cruise ship sailing with passengers in U.S. waters.

According to the CDC, all 92 ships with passengers have met the threshold for investigation by the public health agency. In every case, the CDC has either started an investigation or has investigated.

Surges in Covid-19 on land have led to spikes on the high seas, revealed that update on Tuesday. Cases have rocketed from 162 in early December to 5,013 up to December 29th.

The CDC warned travellers including those who are vaccinated to avoid cruising in December, following the announcement videos surfaced of jam-packed cruise ships with unmasked passengers ringing in the New Year.

Meanwhile, Grand Turk is still welcoming cruise ships.  Eleven cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the Grand Turk Cruise Center throughout January, according to the port schedule.

Jamell Robinson, TCI Minister of Health has confirmed that ships have been allowed to dock in Grand Turk with positive COVID cases on board.

He said. “Now in each ship there are stations or places for isolation on board…Just because a vessel has people with Covid-19 on it doesn’t necessarily mean we wouldn’t allow them to disembark.”

The minister explained the number of positive cases recorded on cruise ships that had arrived in Grand Turk was .001 per cent of all guests and they were not allowed to disembark.

So far, Turks and Caicos has turned away at least one cruise liner due to fears of COVID exposure in the capital, which has gone from a handful of active cases to now 111, as of January 14.

The US Centers for Disease Control reported on Tuesday that COVID-19 cases on cruise ships have increased to 30 times what they were in mid-December.

 

 

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Health

New York, US Epicenter for Omicron “turning the corner”

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#USA, January 15, 2022 – Today, New York is seeing a downward trend in Covid-19 cases, as officials revealed, “we are turning the corner” on Friday in updating on the state of affairs in the city, labelled the epicenter of omicron for the United States.

Before, data from the New York State Department of Health showed that the number of new coronavirus infections per 100,000 vaccinated residents in the State, rose from 29.8 in the first week of December to 222.3 last week.  Also, the rate of new cases in unvaccinated adults rose from 239.6 to 1,583.1 per 100,000.

New York is a key source market for the Turks and Caicos and much of the Caribbean, which is heavily reliant upon winter travellers.  The data showed, too, that vaccine effectiveness against severe infection remained high.

Only 4.59 fully vaccinated adults out of 100,000 were hospitalised with COVID-19 in the week of December 27.  However, that number increased, and the hospitalisation rate for the unvaccinated is nearly 13 times higher.

New York’s rolling positivity rate fell below 20% in recent days, but media reports indicate the death toll in the State hit a startling high of 195 for the first time since the mass vaccination rollout.

 

 

 

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Health

Lockdown time party plaguing UK Prime Minister; requests for resignation

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#UnitedKingdom, January 15, 2022 – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being urged to resign after finally admitting that he did indeed attend a garden party on Downing Street while citizens of the United Kingdom were in lockdown.  It is an admission that he broke his own lockdown rules.

Johnson said he thought it was a ‘work event’ and has apologized for his involvement. He acknowledged that there were citizens who felt rage towards him at his carelessness.

Rage, however strong may still be an understatement, at least for his political opponents.

Opposition Labour Party leader Kier Starmer dismissed Johnson’s excuse that he did not realise the event was a party saying “[It is] so ridiculous that it is actually offensive to the British public.”

This latest issue comes as a slew of different scandals rock the Conservative party amid concerns about Boris Johnson’s ability to lead the UK.

Weeks ago, after another party in the lockdown scandal surfaced, Johnson suffered a massive defeat at the hands of Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan in a constituency that the party had never lost before.

Morgan said, “The country is crying out for a leader, Boris Johnson has proved that he is no leader.”

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