Delta variant confirmed in Tobago

Main mutation sites of the Indian coronavirus variant B.1.617. The spike protein (red) is bound to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (blue).

The more infectious and deadly Delta variant has now been detected in Tobago.

The news came from Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram during yesterday’s virtual CXCOVID-19 media conference, where Parasram indicated that six additional people were confirmed as being infected with the variant. 

“Of the cases, we have five of the Delta cases in Trinidad and we now have our first confirmed Delta case in Tobago,” Parasram said.

“The data is being collected right now by the CMOHs, as well as Dr (Avery) Hinds, and we’d present later on a full summary of what we found.”

This brings the total number of people confirmed with the Delta variant locally up to 32.

Parasram said the Ministry of Health received confirmation of the variant’s detection on Tuesday night. Of the five cases in Trinidad, two were detected in the St George West county, one in the St George Central county, one in the St Andrew/St David county and one in the Victoria county. 

The message from the Ministry of Health continues to be for the population to get vaccinated. Elaborating on the benefits of getting inoculated, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday indicated that over 95 per cent of hospitalised COVID-19 patients aren’t fully vaccinated. 

“It means the parallel healthcare system, the step-down facilities, are being populated by the unvaccinated,” he said.

“What is even more sad is that by now, we should have had no person, or literally a very little number of deaths due to COVID-19. Why? Because once you are fully vaccinated, you stand…a little under 99 per cent chance of not dying from COVID. But yet every day, we still getting these deaths.”

Minister Deyalsingh also said countries have been found for over 30,000 excess Oxford-AstraZeneca doses in T&T. Deyalsingh announced recently that T&T had no choice but to look for a donor as the vaccines were due to expire soon. However, he deferred to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs for further announcements on who had accepted the vaccines.

Guardian Media reached out to Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Dr Amery Browne for an update on this yesterday eveningbut no response was received up to press time.