Covid ‘Variant Of Concern’ Detected In Liberia

Testing Under Scrutiny Amid Report of New Surge, and Jitters From Air Travelers Raising Questions Over Testing Procedures, Results

Monrovia – Several Passengers traveling on SN Brussels flight Tuesday tonight were left in shock after being told to halt their travels due to the positive Covid19 tests.

Most of those turned away had taken the tests on Saturday, June 5, 2021 and told to wait for 72 hours before receiving their results, the required period stipulated by the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL). However, to the dismay of many, the results were not given until at least one hour before the flight was due to take off, turning away scores who had showed up for the flight.

It is still unclear why NPHIL took so long to return the results and give travelers ample time to prepare for the unexpected but some sources say, the agency responsible for disease control has been have technical glitches with its testing kits.

Authorities at NPHIL say those passengers who were turned away are being monitored and told to do home-based care and return for seven days to test again.

Authorities at NPHIL say, those who are asymptomatic will be given home-based care while those showing signs of difficulty in breathing and other severe signs are taken to the National Infectious Disease Center on Star Base, Bong mines.

Authorities are also encouraging Liberians to follow the health protocols by wearing mask in public places and the washing of hands

The incident Tuesday comes amid a recent reported surge of the killer virus in Liberia.

Liberia recorded its first case of COVID-19 confirmed on March 16, 2020 with the response efforts lasting more than 450-days.

To date, more than 120,000 COVID-19 tests conducted with a total of 2,290 confirmed cases to date as of June 6, 2021.

According to NPHIL, 564 of the confirmed in 2021, there are 266 active cases as of June 6, 2021 and 88 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

There are currently 12 cases, four confirmed and eight suspects in treatment unit while 33 cases are being managed in home based care. A total of 2,055 persons have recovered from the virus so far.

In the coming days, NPHIL says it will amp up its Covid19 response due to reported presence of variants of interest, in particular, the B.1.1.7, commonly known as the Alpha variant.

A recent study of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection admitted to two United Kingdom hospitals found that the B.1.1.7 variant does not appear to increase disease severity but may increase transmissibility.

Another study in the U.K., using self-reported data from the COVID Symptom Study app, demonstrated no changes in reported symptoms or disease duration associated with the B.1.1.7 variant.

Further research and ongoing tracking of SARS-CoV-2 variants are vital in developing ways to curb the spread.

The current variants of concern in the United States include the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.427, and B.1.429 variants

In May, the World Health Organization announced that the Variant of Concern will be labelled Alpha for use in public communications.

The Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been emerging and circulating around the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Viral mutations and variants are routinely monitored through sequence-based surveillance, laboratory studies, and epidemiological investigations