The Ministry of Health and Wellness is reporting that a traveller from Jamaica to the United Kingdom has returned a positive test result for the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Jamaica was advised of the case through the United Kingdom’s international health regulations system.
Portfolio Minister Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton made the disclosure during the COVID conversation press briefing held today (December 22).
“This is a traveller who came here on a short stay in one of our resort facilities and went back and was confirmed for COVID and confirmed for the Omicron variant,” Dr. Tufton said.
“There are several conclusions that can be drawn from this to include the fact that persons may have been infected by others within the population and/or this particular individual could have interacted sufficiently while here to infect or contaminate others. In other words, I think it is best from a planning, from a precautionary perspective to conclude that Omicron is here within our population,” he added.
Meanwhile of the more than 1,100 tests that have been done in the last 36 hours by private facilities, seven per cent are positive.
These tests were largely done on persons who were short term travellers to the country and required PCR test for their return.
“Of the 76 positives that were identified, these 76 represent one of the largest reporting of imported cases in the country since the start of the pandemic,” Dr. Tufton said.
The Minister informed that Omicron is spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others by an infection rate of some 2.5.
“So, it is highly contagious, and the current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant,” Dr. Tufton said.