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COVID-19 UK Variant Identified in Nasopharyngeal Swab in Belize

BELIZE: In a press release on Friday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Belize informed the public that its office has received 15 nasopharyngeal swabs but not all were in order.

All 15 samples were submitted for processing and gene sequencing at the Baylor College in Houston. However, not all were returned with good sequence data. One of the 15 samples was classified as the United Kingdom Variant also known as the B.1.1.7 lineage or strain 20I/501Y.V1

The U.K. Variant was identified in a man who entered Belize on January 12, 2021, as a member of the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB). He was asymptomatic on arrival the press release disclosed.

As a part of the Health Ministry’s and British Army Training Support Unit Belize’ entry protocol, all troops entering Belize must bring in a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.

“One hundred percent of the training troops must also undergo a mandatory re-swabbing with PCR on the first day after arrival. Exercise troops must remain in complete quarantine until results are received,” stated the Health Ministry, adding that “the process was precisely followed for the above case“.

“The individual was isolated immediately and remained in isolation for 11 days. He was retested which yielded a negative result. At that time, he joined his battalion to continue with jungle training.”

Many other public health procedures were put in place prior to the arrival of the troops and very minimal interaction with the public has occurred the Ministry further disclosed.

All travelers entering Belize must bring a negative PCR or negative rapid test or be subjected to a rapid test at the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport on arrival.

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