Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Health

MOH has capacity to sequence new Covid-19 variant Omicron

Principal Secretary for Health Charles Mwansambo

The Ministry of Health has said it is testing Covid-19 positive samples to establish if Malawi has the new Covid-19 variant known as Omicron.

This is contained in a statement signed by Dr Charles Mwansambo, Principal Secretary for health.

The development comes as the new variant has been detected in South Africa and Botswana.

It also follows media reports that a traveler from Malawi –was found with the new variant in Israel over the week.

According to Mwansambo, the country is routinely analyzing COVID-19 positive case samples to establish the type of variants circulating in the country and that so far from the samples that have collected- the Omicron variant has not been established.

Mwansambo said as a country Malawi can do genomic sequencing and urged the public to routinely improve ventilation of indoor spaces, avoid crowded spaces, avoid mass gatherings and intensify the screening of travellers at all points of entry to prevent importation of COVID-19 cases.

Mwansambo said there is a possible risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

He further said the Ministry feels it is important to be screening both the incoming and outgoing travellers to destinations like South Africa and Botswana.

Meanwhile, South Africa has complained that upon the discovery of Omicron, some countries have banned flights to the Rainbow nation.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, said,  “The decision by some countries around the world to ban flights from Southern Africa following the discovery of the variant is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker,”

“Excellent science should be applauded and not punished,” said Pandor.

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