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Covid UK variant hits Guam; travel risk raised back to level three
05:42 am GMT+12, 04/05/2021, Guam

Amid Guam's aborted plan to reopen tourism, the Centre for Disease Prevention and Prevention has raised the territory's risk back to level three.
 
Level three corresponds to "high risk," which advised travellers to avoid all nonessential travels level one indicates low risk.
 
The new travel advisory came after the emergence of two clusters at The Tsubaki Tower and AClass and most recently, the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) received confirmation that the UK variant has reached Guam.
 
The UK variant is considered a more highly transmissible variant of SARS-CoV-2.
 
The confirmation was based on the second set of results from virus samples that have been collected on Guam and have undergone genome sequencing by CDC.  
 
Virus samples were collected between January and April. To date, a total of 61 SARS-CoV-2 virus samples have been submitted to the CDC for genome sequencing.  
 
DPHSS received the first set of results on March 19 from the CDC, which confirmed seven of 26 samples identified the B.1.429 California variant.
 
DPHSS received the second set of results on 03 May from the CDC, which confirmed three of four samples identified the B.1.1.7 variant from the United Kingdom. These virus samples came from travelers tested for SARS-CoV-2 at the government of Guam quarantine facility (QFAC).  
 
In accordance with DPHSS protocol, these travelers were isolated in the government isolation facility. All arriving passengers who test positive for Covid-19 in the QFAC are required to be isolated in the government isolation facility. Additionally, all close contacts to these travelers were quarantined at the QFAC for 14 days before being transferred into the community.  
 
Current results do not provide any evidence of the other variants of Concern on Guam (P.1-- Brazil/Japan, B.1.351--South Africa, B.1.427--a California Variant of Concern).
 
On 01 May, six new cases of Covid-19 were identified out of 117 tests performed. To date, there have been a total of 7,981 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 136 deaths, 106 cases in active isolation, and 7,739 not in active isolation. The CAR Score is 0.7.
 
At least 64,000 individuals on Guam have been fully vaccinated but health authorities continue reminding the community to remain vigilant:
 
*Remain home if you are sick. Keep away from others who are sick and limit face-to-face contact with others.
 
*Keep a safe distance of 6 feet or more between yourself and others who are outside of your household.
 
*Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
 
*If visiting elderly family members, continue to practice social distancing to protect those you love.
 
“The latest designation from the CDC is a reminder that we must stay vigilant. While we have achieved our Path to Half goal, it was prudent that we keep our strict quarantine protocols in place to continue to protect our community against this deadly virus and its variants," Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said.  
 
“Wearing our masks, washing our hands, watching our distance, and getting vaccinated are still our best safeguards. We applaud our community for doing their part, but all of us need to remember that this pandemic is far from over,” said Governor Guerrero added.
 
Lt. Governor  Josh  Tenorio said although Guam has achieved the Path to Half, the work continues as we push forward Operation Liberate Guam— the goal to vaccinate 80 percent of all eligible persons by 21 July.
 
“Our administration, Public Health, the State Surgeon Cell, Guam National Guard, and all our partners are ready to administer these vaccines, but we need the community to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated. Together, we're going to emerge from this pandemic a stronger, healthier, more united Guam," he said.

SOURCE: PACIFIC ISLAND TIMES/PACNEWS


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