Uganda has its first seven cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, a health official confirmed Tuesday.
The director of clinical services, Charles Olaro, said the variant was detected in travelers from South Africa and Nigeria who arrived in Uganda on November 29.
“We have already notified them about their status and they are already in isolation,” he said.
Olaro said the first tests done on the travelers after arrival at Entebbe International Airport showed they were positive for the coronavirus and further testing confirmed the new variant.
“We used the genomic sequence tests which normally take five to eight days to give the results,” he said.
The Uganda Virus Research Institute in a statement confirmed the country’s first cases of the variant.
Five of the travelers were from Nigeria and two came from South Africa, said Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng. They have mild symptoms, she said.
Uganda’s 7-day rolling average of daily new cases has stayed relatively low level over the past two weeks, registering 0.07 new cases per 100,000 people on December 6, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Uganda, with 45 million people, has recorded just over 127,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,256 deaths, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to a report from the Uganda Virus Research Institute, the first time detection of the Omicron variant were from samples from travelers arriving in the country through Entebbe International Airport.
The institute says all the travelers arrived from Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Netherlands aboard Ethiopian Airways, Uganda Airlines, Kenya Airlines and Airlink on November 29th 2021.
The Institute’s executive Director Prof Pontiano Kaleebu has meanwhile revealed that the confirmed cases are already in the community.
He has now called for increased surveillance to keep track of the emerging and circulating variant and for the ministry of health to quickly trace for the confirmed cases and their contacts.
AP,CGTN and KFM