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Weldon - quarantining required in the interests of public safety

Best form of defence: Government scientist Carika Weldon strongly supports the vaccination programme (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The doctor running Government’s Covid-19 testing facility has provided details of how vaccinations can dramatically reduce the spread of the disease.

Carika Weldon, who heads the department of health’s Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, also explained that, because the incubation period for the virus can vary, quarantining for 14 days was required in the interests of public safety.

In an affidavit presented at a court hearing last week, Dr Weldon said that tests showed the viral load in people who had been vaccinated was much lower than that of unvaccinated people – meaning that their ability to pass on the virus was greatly reduced.

Dr Weldon said: “Studies have shown that Covid-19 vaccination lowers the viral load detected, of which a high viral load (ie low Cp values) is a driving factor for the transmission of the virus.

“This falls in line with local Bermuda data which shows that, during the 2021 outbreak (March-May) those unvaccinated or only having one dose, had majority low Cp values while those with a second dose or fully immunised had majority high Cp values.

“Studies have emerged from the United States, Israel, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden and the United kingdom showing significant reduction in the rate of infection of those vaccinated compared to those unvaccinated.”

Dr Weldon went on to list 20 studies in which infection rates had plummeted once vaccination programmes had began.

Dr Weldon said that studies showed that there was an average five-day incubation period for the virus.

But she added: “However, the range of incubation observed was between two to 15 days.”

She said that 95 per cent of cases experienced an incubation period of 13 days or less, and so a 14-day quarantine period “became standard”.

She quoted guidelines from the US Centres for Disease Control which states: “The recommendation for a 14-day quarantine was based on estimates of the upper bounds of the Covid-19 incubation period.”

The guidelines continued: “Quarantine’s importance grew after it was evident that persons are able to transmit Sars-Cov-2 before symptoms develop, and that a substantial portion of infected persons never develop symptomatic illness but can still transmit the virus. In this context, quarantine is a critical measure to control transmission.”

Dr Weldon also defended mandatory supervised quarantine for non-vaccinated travellers visiting the island.

Referring to the two spikes in the virus last December and in April this year, she said: “Both outbreaks occurred during the time of mobile quarantine, where recent travellers can move around more freely after returning from abroad.

“It was clear that this policy, when not adhered to as written, could cause another outbreak, especially with the new, emerging variants that are more transmissible.

“To prevent another outbreak, it is imperative to have stricter border measures.”

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Published July 15, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated July 15, 2021 at 7:23 am)

Weldon - quarantining required in the interests of public safety

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