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Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, responding to an Urgent Question posed by the Member of Parliament for Barataria/San Juan during the sitting of Parliament yesterday.

Trinidad and Tobago is still testing for the new variants of COVID-19.

Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh, gave the confirmation to Guardian Media yesterday following reports that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) had suspended testing for new variants of the disease in the region.

Guyana’s Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, is quoted in a recent news article as saying, “CARPHA was offering genetic sequencing and we sent the first 10 samples to them. When we receive the results from those 10 samples, they didn’t find anything of significance. After that, for a little while, they had suspended the genetic sequencing at CARPHA or whatever relationship CARPHA had with the laboratories that were doing the sequencing.”

“We are still testing for the variants from samples for Trinidad,” Minister Deyalsingh noted.

“I cannot answer for the region. I am responsible for Trinidad and Tobago,” the Health Minister added.

Last December, CARPHA began conducting genome sequencing for the new variants which according to global health experts are more transmissible.

On March 3, 2021, CARPHA issued a statement confirming that only the UK variant has been detected in several countries. The Brazil or South Africa variant have not been detected so far. The latest variant was recently found in India.

According to Minister Deyalsingh, “It’s not CARPHA that does the testing, it is the University of the West Indies. CARPHA collects the samples.”

Trinidad and Tobago has already reported two variants in the country; the UK variant and Brazil variant.