(CMR) Jamaica's Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has confirmed that the new ‘Mu' variant of COVID-19 is in Jamaica. Dr. Tufton announced at a press conference Thursday evening that 26 cases of the variant were found from 92 samples.
The Mu variant, which was first identified in Colombia, was named a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization on August 30. Five cases of this strain were confirmed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines earlier this week. It has also been recorded in 49 US states, with Florida and California reporting the highest numbers of infections.
This new variant of COVID-19 could be more transmissible than even the Delta variant and could be vaccine resistant, scientists have warned.
Meantime, Dr. Tufton said the ministry would suspend administering the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine this weekend to ensure that the inventory of Pfizer vaccines that remain will guarantee second doses.
The minister also announced that at least one genome sequencing machine would arrive on the island within two to three weeks. This will allow the country to test for variant strains without having to send samples to locations overseas.