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The Ministry of Health has implemented a new protocol for travellers coming into T&T from the United Kingdom after news broke of a new strain of the virus circulating within its population there.

In a release yesterday, the ministry said those leaving the UK for T&T, where the time between the date of departure and the date of arrival into T&T is 14 days or less, will need a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travelling (much like the mandate for all people entering T&T at this time) and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period to be spent in a state or state-supervised facility.

“This new protocol deviates from the current quarantine period to be served by persons entering the country from other high-risk countries, which presently remains seven days in state or state-supervised quarantine followed by seven days home quarantine. All other protocols as it relates to entry into Trinidad and Tobago remain the same at this time. This is to ensure the continued protection is afforded to the members of the public,” the release said.

Commenting on news of the new strain on his Facebook page yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said he will “keep looking out for the interest of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

“We will continue to do what we have been doing all along. Be Informed and Respect THE SCIENCE of virology and epidemiology and be guided by our trained health care experts,” Rowley said.

He also took a jab at the Opposition for their commentary on Government’s handling of the pandemic. “We have withstood the bandwagonist UNC, who have consistently undermined our national efforts whilst trumpeting “cures” like hydroxychloroquine, puncheon and lime, sunshine etc. Also, they said it was all a hoax to which the Government was reacting. Now they are calling for the VACCINE NOW, even before we have any allocation identified yet in the world COVAX supply,” he said.

News of the new strain broke over the weekend.

Meanwhile in its update yesterday, the Ministry of Health said two more people had died from the virus, bringing the country’s death toll to 125. The recent fatalities were an elderly male and female who both had pre-existing medical conditions.

The ministry also confirmed 12 new infections from samples taken between December 18 and 20, bringing the total number of infections since March 12 up to 7,012.