There are eight Omicron cases detected in the country without an immediately apparent source of infection such as recent travel or contact with a COVID-19 positive patient. According to the Ministry of Health’s epidemiology division’s technical director, Dr Avery Hinds, investigations are ongoing. He said it revealed that some of the patients may have come in contact with symptomatic cases.

“A couple of them did have contact with other individuals who had flu-like symptoms and the investigations is going on to see whether or not there was a travel history with those individuals,” he said. He notes that the number of such cases is now increasing.

“As we are continuing the epidemiological investigations and the observations of what’s going on in the population- we are seeing where there are increasing proportions of these cases that don’t seem to be linked to importation and are therefore linked to what we call hidden chains of transmission,” he said.

However, Dr Hinds said it’s not yet the right time to declare the variant as community transmission. Community transmission is when an infectious disease begins circulating within a group of people who have had no known contact with a person infected with or exposed to the disease.

“As we continue to uncover these chains, we will get a better idea of how well established these (chains of transmission) are or if they are self-limiting,” he said.
He however noted the recent trends point to it being an imminent threat given Omicron’s track record internationally.

Reporter: Rishard Khan