By Makeida Antonio
The newest Covid-19 variant, Omicron, has not yet been detected in Antigua and Barbuda, according to a top health official.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas told Observer that the Ministry of Health has not received any confirmation that Omicron is in the country from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
The CMO assured that while the ministry is still awaiting the results from a batch of samples sent for testing recently, the public will be informed as soon as any confirmation has been received.
Omicron, cited by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a ‘variant of concern’, was first detected in South Africa and has since spread to more than 70 countries, including the United Kingdom and several states in the US.
One case of Omicron has been recorded by CARPHA which is based in Trinidad and Tobago. That country’s Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh disclosed on Monday that the person infected with the variant boarded a flight from New York City, despite presenting a positive Covid-19 test.
In the region, Omicron has also been reported in Cuba and Bermuda.
Reports are that, while the variant is not determined to be more deadly than the Delta at this point, it appears to be significantly more transmissible – a trait that could prove a challenge for many countries with scarce resources.