JIS News

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is advising Jamaicans travelling overseas to observe strict safety protocols to prevent importation of the Delta and other variants of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Some COVID-19 variants allow the virus to spread more easily or make it resistant to treatments or vaccines.

Most commonly reported symptoms of the Delta variant of COVID-19, first identified in India, are a headache, sore throat and runny nose.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, who was addressing the Ministry’s virtual COVID Conversations press briefing recently, said preliminary reports coming out of the United Kingdom (UK) indicate that this variant has been found to be 40 per cent more transmissible.

“There is a report, as well, that it is 2.61 times more likely to result in a severe illness and hospitalisation,” she warned.

Expressing concern about the highly contagious and virulent nature of the Delta and other COVID-19 variants, the CMO said maintenance of quarantine measures for persons who come into country are even more important to prevent importation of these variants.

“This is one of the things that are important for Jamaicans to understand. While you see quarantine measures being eased in other places, it is important [to note] that many countries still maintain their quarantine measures and it is because of the risk of spread of these variants that even vaccinated persons can bring into country. That is why we would want the quarantine [measures] to be in place,” she explained.

Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie encouraged Jamaicans travelling abroad to continue to practise established COVID-19 safety protocols, even when they enter those jurisdictions that do not require maintenance of the precautions.

“They may bring back into the country a variant that is naïve to the population and, of course, that means that it will spread very, very quickly within the population. With the vast number of persons in country that are not vaccinated, we remain at risk from all the strains of the COVID-19. So we are still at risk of exposure for the variants, which present an additional risk,” she emphasised.

Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie said the Ministry continues to advocate adherence to established safety protocols to limit transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

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