Two new variants of the Omicron COVID Virus have been detected in the British Virgin Islands which as of July 8, 2022, had a total of 24 active cases.
This was confirmed by the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronald Georges who reminded residents to remain vigilant as new COVID-19 variants continue to emerge.
He said, “After genetic testing, BA.2 and BA.4 Omicron variants have been found to be circulating within the Virgin Islands community while the BA 2.75 variant identified in India has not been identified in the Virgin Islands.”
According to Dr. Georges, the two strains which were identified in the territory are not classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as variants of concern but remain under monitoring by the WHO.
He said the main concern with the two variants is their ability to escape both natural and vaccine-derived immunity and lead to high numbers of infections.
“The public is therefore urged to take appropriate precautions to prevent infection where necessary. This may include the wearing of face masks, frequent hand hygiene, and general sanitation,” Dr. Georges cautioned.
The Ministry of Health is advising persons who are ill or suspect that they may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to the disease to be tested to confirm their status.
Persons who are positive for COVID-19 are being advised to self-isolate for a period of 7 days and end isolation if they test negative by rapid test or after 10 days with no test.