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St Vincent records cases of “Mu” strain of COVID-19


St Vincent records cases of “Mu” strain of COVID-19

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KINGSTOWN – St Vincent and the Grenadines said five cases of the latest strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) had been detected in the territory.

The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said in a statement that the five cases of the Mu variant were detected following a review of sequencing results for samples sent to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Authorities said the five cases were detected between July 19 and August 9, and “all cases were detected within the community as contacts of other positive cases and from persons seeking healthcare”.

They also warned the Mu variant is more transmissible and able to escape the immune response making it more dangerous.

“In view of the confirmed presence of the Mu variant of interest in the community and the increased risk of infection and subsequent transmission of COVID-19 posed by the growing incidence of variants of concern in persons entering SVG, strict compliance with all protocols and recommendations is strongly recommended,” NEMO said. “These include the effective use of masks, physical distancing, hand sanitising and immunization with available vaccines.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) named the variant B.1.621, Mu, a variant of interest, describing it as one that has genetic differences to the other known variants, and it is causing infections in multiple countries.

Mu is the fifth “variant of interest” to be monitored by WHO since March last year.

The WHO weekly COVID-19 bulletin stated this variant of interest “has a constellation of mutations” that may make it less susceptible to vaccines and immunity from natural infections.

NEMO also reported that there had been four new cases of COVID-19 from 36 samples processed on Monday, resulting in a positivity rate of 11.1 per cent.

The emergency management agency said five new recoveries were noted over the reporting period and 65 cases are currently active, while 12 people with COVID-19 have died.

SVG has recorded 2,389 cases of COVID-19 and 2,312 recoveries since March last year.