Principal Medical Officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards said all six identified delta variant cases in Trinidad and Tobago were all quarantined on arrival, according to the national health protocols for unvaccinated people entering the country.
Abdool-Richards was speaking at the Ministry of Health’s press conference on Monday.
She said, the delta variant cases were contained as they were all quarantined on arrival.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health confirmed the sixth delta variant case in Trinidad and Tobago. In its update, it said the patient has been isolated and all contacts were immediately quarantined and swabbed.
It said the covid19 results for all contacts with the patient were negative. There is no evidence of community spread of the delta variant at this time.
Abdool-Richards said all have passed through the parallel healthcare system. Some have been discharged and the others are doing well.
Professor of molecular genetics and virology at UWI Christine Carrington said according to national health protocols, because the unvaccinated are quarantined on arrival, the virus is less likely to spread.
She said while a vaccinated person may be infected, it is unlikely.
“The aim is to reduce the chance (and) we are doing everything we can to reduce the chance of community spread.”
Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds said although people from TT are travelling in greater numbers, a negative PCR covid19 test is still a requirement to help mitigate the spread of the virus and the introduction of variants into the community.
He said in addition to that requirement, mandatory mask wearing on planes further reduces droplets from spreading the virus while on board.
But he added, “We do still want to point out that with increased holiday travel…we do expect increased numbers of cases.”
Hinds also said even without getting to the stage of herd immunity, it is still important to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of severe illness.
“In fact, it becomes even more important (to be vaccinated), because there is still the possibility of the virus spreading.”
Hinds said herd immunity occurs in a population when an illness is not transmitted from one person to another.
He also addressed the "vaccine safe zone" concept. On Friday, the Prime Minister said in four weeks, the government aims to reopen certain businesses for those who are vaccinated.
Hinds said the safe zone concept creates “artificial pockets of herd immunity,” which can help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. He said although it won’t eliminate the risk altogether, from an epidemiological perspective, it is an idea that is supported.