Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2021. 8:32 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) has informed tonight that of 15 nasopharyngeal swabs that were sent to Baylor College in Houston for gene sequencing to identify additional variants of COVID-19, one has been returned classified as the United Kingdom (UK) variant, also known as the B.1.1.7 lineage or strain 20I/501Y.V1.
A further 40 swabs will be reported on in the near future. All 15 samples initially submitted were processed and sequenced, however, not all resulted in good sequence data, the Ministry reports.
The affected individual came to Belize on January 12 with troops participating in a training exercise with the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) and was asymptomatic on arrival.
All troops coming to Belize must bring with them a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival and be re-swabbed with PCR equipment here a day after arrival. They are also quarantined until their results are received.
In the case of the affected individual, the above procedure was followed and he was immediately isolated and remained so for 11 days. On his re-testing, he was found negative and cleared to join his battalion to continue with jungle training.
The Ministry says other public health procedures were put in place prior to the BATSUB troop arrivals and they have had minimal public interaction.
The protocol remains that all travelers to Belize must bring a negative COVID-19 test, either PCR or rapid, or be tested with a rapid test at the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport on arrival.
The public is strongly advised to continue to properly wear masks, wash hands regularly with soap and water, and continue physical distancing.
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