Testing of patients who are now cleared of COVID-19 will continue after they are discharged. Secretary to Prime Minister (SPM), Dr. Jimmie Rodgers says this during Oversight's Radio Talkback Show.

Rodgers says 10 patients have been discharged so far but the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) will continue to monitor them on a regular basis.

He says they are calling on the 10 discharged patients to contact the health ministry this week.

“Because of the latest information which we have about the new variant in UK and the information we receive about possible reactivation of people that were positive before, and negative for quite a while before being positive again, what we in the Oversight Committee want to do is instead of waiting for a month before we carry out tests again, when you hear this message, we want you to contact health, this week”, Rodgers says.

Rodgers says all of the 10 discharged were asymptomatic thus it is important that regular tests are carried out instead of just monitoring on a weekly basis.

“Just make sure that for your security and your family and the security of the country, we are on top of this”, Rodgers says.

On 14 December, authorities of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland reported to WHO that a new SARS-CoV-2 variant was identified through viral genomic sequencing. This variant is referred to as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 2020 12/01 (Variant under investigation, year 2020, month 12, variant 01).

WHO says initial analysis indicated that the variant may spread more readily between people. Investigations are ongoing to determine if this variant is associated with any changes in the severity of symptoms, antibody response or vaccine efficacy.

WHO says all countries need to assess their level of local transmission and apply appropriate prevention and control activities including adapting public health and social measures as per WHO guidance.

WHO says it is important to remind communities and health workers of the basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections:

Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;

Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;

People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands);

Within healthcare facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments; and

Wearing masks where appropriate and ensuring good ventilation.