The Government says it has intensified monitoring of movements at the country’s points of entry (airports and border posts) to prevent imported cases of a new coronavirus variant, B.1.1.529, that was detected in South Africa on Wednesday.
In a statement this Friday, Vice President and Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga said the public should not panic as the Government is well prepared to deal with the variant.
He said to date, there are no cases of the B.1.1.529 detected from the new cases that are being recorded across the country.
Chiwenga said his Ministry will collect samples among the cases being detected at the Points of Entry for genomic sequencing surveillance.
Pindula News is publishing the statement by Chiwenga in full below:
The Ministry of Health and Child Care wishes to inform the nation that a new variant of SARS-COV-2 now known as B.1.1.529 was detected and reported in South Africa on the 24th of November 2021 after a surge of cases were reported in that country.
The little information known on this new variant is that it has numerous points of mutations as compared to the Delta variant which is predominantly circulating in the country.
Investigations on the significance of this and other characteristics are being done and the public will be notified as information is made available.
The Ministry would want to reiterate the importance of intensifying COVID-19 mitigation measures that the country has put in place which include social and physical distancing, use of face masks at all times, sanitization of hands and surfaces and temperature checks at all gatherings.
It is important also to emphasize that the most important measure available for the prevention of this and other COVID-19 variants is the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine which the Government is rolling out for free in all provinces and cities.
Zimbabwe is yet to detect this new variant among the few cases being reported in the country.
New samples will be collected for genomic sequencing surveillance from among the cases being detected at the Points of Entry and from any clusters.
Strict monitoring of movements at points of Entry/ Border posts is being intensified to minimize the introduction of this new variant into the country.
The Ministry would also want to assure the nation that there is no need to panic as the above control measures are in place and will mitigate against any variant.