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Jamaica: UK virus variant confirmed in Jamaica

The highly contagious United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus called B.1.1.7 has been confirmed to be spreading in Jamaica.

The development was announced by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton at a press briefing Monday evening.

Tufton disclosed that seven of eight viable samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago were confirmed to be that of the UK variant of the coronavirus.

The minister said the samples were collected from those who had no prior travel history.

Samples were taken from the parishes of St Catherine, St James, Clarendon, Trelawny, Kingston, and St Andrew.

The health minister said the results were received on March 6 although they had been sent to the facility months ago for testing. The long wait has forced the Government to search for options to ramp up testing for the strain.

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