Kampala: Uganda has confirmed nine cases of Omicron variant of COVID19 in the country.
This has been confirmed by the Uganda virus research institute saying the virus was detected from the tests done on travelers who arrived through Entebbe International Airport on 29 November 2021.
“We report for the first-time detection of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in Uganda from samples taken from travelers arriving in the country through Entebbe International airport,” The Health Ministry announced on Tuesday.
“The Omicron variant has been designated as a variant of concern by the WHO and presents with some deletions and more than 30 mutations in the spike region. As the number of Omicron cases increases globally, there is a need 2 for near real-time genomic surveillance to keep track of emerging and circulating variants for the effective control of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.”
According to the Ministry of health, the positive passengers had arrived from Nigeria (5), United Arab Emirates (2), South Africa (2), Democratic Republic of Congo (1) and Netherlands (1) aboard Ethiopian Airways, Uganda Airlines, Kenya Airlines and Airlink.
Meanwhile, the Institute’s Executive Director Prof Pontiano Kaleebu has revealed that the confirmed cases are already in the community and the Health Ministry has embarked on dressing them and their contacts.
The omicron was first identified in Botswana and South Africa, it has prompted concern among scientists and public health officials because of an unusually high number of mutations that have the potential to make the virus more transmissible & less susceptible to existing vaccines.
Uganda Minister of Health Dr. Jane Acheng had assured Ugandans they are very keen on people entering Uganda through all borders and will be able to pick them out in case they are found with the virus.