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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says a Genome Sequencing machine to test for new coronavirus (COVID-19) variants is expected to arrive in the island over the next two to three weeks.
Speaking at the virtual COVID Conversations press conference on Thursday (September 9), the Minister said that “significant progress” has been made with the acquisition of at least one and a possible two machines and the necessary reagents.
“This will allow us to test for variant strains without having to send samples to locations overseas. That is a good development based on discussions that we have had with the suppliers over the last few days,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister in reporting that the number of persons being vaccinated is “increasing steadily”.
More than 612,000 doses of vaccines have been administered to date. Of that number, 459,040 were first doses, 141,495 were second doses, and 12,274 were single doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
He said that the numbers put Jamaica within reach of its target to administer 700,000 doses of vaccines by the end of September.
The Government’s target is to have 65 per cent of the Jamaican population vaccinated by March 2022.
Dr. Tufton said that the measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus are reaping some positive results in reducing the spread of the virus.
“It is an indication that the sacrifices that we are making as people are paying some dividends,” he said.