The Ministry of Health and Wellness is reporting the possibility of the detection of a new Covid variant in the country, which is believed to be responsible for the spike in COVID-19 infections in the past few days, and community spread in the south of the country.
In an interview with a local media house, Minister Michel Chebat said that while Belize does not have the capacity to test the samples, health experts are suspecting that it is the Delta Variant, known to be highly contagious and spreads rapidly. According to Chebat, several samples have already been sent out of the country for testing at Baylor University for gene sequencing to detect exactly which variant it is.
“They will be able to tell us exactly which variant it is that we now have in the country. I say that because the medical team that advises the Ministry of Health and Wellness believed that it is the Delta Variant and one of the features of that variant is that it spreads very quickly. Also, because of the rapid rise in numbers that we are seeing, we believe that it is the Delta variant that we may have in the country,” said Chebat.
Chebat confirmed that the new variant was detected on Friday of last week in a patient from Stann Creek, one in Ladyville, and another in Orange Walk. According to Chebat, these samples were different from the rest which immediately alerted medical experts.
Chebat said that while that confirmation is expected within the next few days, the infection is spreading fast, and the Ministry is concerned that the country is on the brink of a third wave.
To contain the further spread of the new variant, the Ministry of Health will be hosting a press briefing at 2:30 this evening where they will announce additional health measures, that will take effect on Sunday.