By Uganda Online
Kampala: Ministry of Health has revealed that the number of cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Uganda has increased up to 25 from 7 cases initially confirmed on December 7, 2021.
This has been confirmed by the Director General Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Henry Mwebesa saying the 18 new cases were confirmed after a genomic sequencing (further examination) of samples obtained from travelers through Entebbe International Airport between 28th and 29th November 2021.
According to Mwebesa, the cases were imported from South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria and the majority of the cases are under home isolation in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
“To date, the Ministry of Health has not yet confirmed any secondary cases in Uganda, or any significant shift in transmission or changes in the severity of illness among the confirmed COVID-19 cases, however, since the beginning of the mandatory testing of all passengers at Entebbe International Airport on October 27, 2021, the number of cases among incoming travelers has increased from a daily average of 6 to 50 cases in the past 7 days, including confirmed imported cases of Omicron variant” Mwebesa said in a statement
“The positive cases are mainly among travelers from Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda. This means there may be increased transmission in other countries. Evidence from over 60 countries and territories where the Omicron variant has been shown to be highly transmissible, it appears it will replace the existing variants”, he added.
Dr. Mwebesa further noted that Omicron Variant appears to have a shorter incubation period, and infects both infants and adults, and affects the unvaccinated more adding that the Ministry of Health observed that the mortality and severity of the Omicron variant appear to be lower than the delta variant.
According to Mwebesa, the Ministry of Health is working with regional and national authorities in South Africa to understand the Omicron virus better and ensure optimal response and control.
”Therefore, accelerating vaccination will deny transmission of the virus among susceptible individuals. The Ministry is intensifying mandatory testing and follow-up of positive cases for all incoming travelers at the five major points of entry of Malaba, Elegu, Busia, Mutukula, and Mpondwe. The testing will be implemented by the private laboratories already existing at all points of entry as the Ministry of Health builds adequate capacity to take over, just like we did at Entebbe International Airport,” he noted
As of today, the results of COVID-19 tests done on 16 December 2021 confirmed 255 new cases indicating a slight increase compared to the previous weeks bringing the cumulative confirmed cases to 128,764.