The Ministry of Health and Wellness has called on the nation not to panic over the reports of the new Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) variant recently detected in Botswana.
According to Dr. Christopher Nyanga, Chief Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, all the four (4) cases which were detected in Botswana have left the country, and all their contacts have tested negative for COVID-19.
“Four cases of the new variant were reported by our local scientists as part of the country‘s routine genomic surveillance of SARS-COV-2. This variant is called B.1.1.529. This new virus was detected on four foreign nationals who had entered Botswana on the 7th November 2021, on a diplomatic mission. The quartet tested positive for COVID-19 on the 11th November 2021 as they were preparing to return. Although all the four cases have since left the country, contact tracing is ongoing. All contacts who have so far been identified in the country, have no COVID-19 symptoms and have tested negative for COVID-19. Therefore, the ministry calls upon members of the public not to panic, but remain vigilant and continue adhering to all COVID-19 protocols.” explained Dr. Nyanga.
However, the reports that the variant has been detected in Botswana only has been dismissed. “Contrary to speculations and in some cases insinuations by some that the variant was only detected in Botswana, the truth is that the variant has so far been detected in other countries in Africa and beyond.” said Dr. Nyanga.
Dr. Nyanga says his Ministry is conducting further investigations and sample analysis to gain more knowledge and understanding about the properties and behaviour of this virus.
Meanwhile, immediate results of the ongoing investigations show that the new virus has many mutations, some of which have previously been characterised, Dr. Nganga asserted.