FILE PHOTO: Test tubes labelled "COVID-19 Test Positive" are seen in front of displayed words "OMICRON SARS-COV-2" in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is in Barbados, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George has confirmed.He told journalists moments ago: “We have had confirmation of Omicron by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Laboratory.  A single case and to date that is the only confirmed case we have.“However, I must couch that by saying that we have been doing testing, preliminary sequencing at the Best-Dos Santos Laboratory, and there is also preliminary evidence is Omicron is established in Barbados.”

The CMO stressed there was no need to panic, noting that the country has already dealt with variants including the Delta

The Ministry of Health has also sent “carefully selected samples” to the CARPHA lab and the results are expected in seven to ten days.

“Once we have this information we will share it with the public,”  Dr George said.

The outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant has led to an explosion of infections in each country the variant has reached since it was first identified by South African researchers.Global health authorities have stressed that they don’t fully know how easily omicron spreads, how severe the illness it causes, or how well vaccines and drug treatments work against it.According to early data from the UK, infections caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus do not appear to be less severe than infections from Delta which has led to a surge of illness and death since August.

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