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Health authorities heighten surveillance amid fast-spreading omicron variant

By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei

Health authorities said that they have heightened surveillance across the country against COVID-19 as the world witnessed yet another fast-spreading variant of the deadly disease last week.

Director General for Preventive Health Services and acting COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. John Rumunu confirmed preparations for detecting the new strain of the communicable disease Omicron variant detected inSouth Africa.

While briefing the Media, John Rumunu said that all the health departments have taken all the preventive measures and were in position to fight the variant.

“We have prepared, and all the health department and facilities are all in place and if Omicron variant come here, we will be able to catch it, “he said.

However, WHO said the number of cases of this variant initially named B.1.1.529, appeared to be increasing in almost all of South Africa provinces.

It said the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November,and its labeled as ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization and named it Omicron and It has also been detected in countries including the UK and it is rapidly evolving situation.

Omicron’s genetic profile has raised concerns, but there’s a shortage of real World data that means nobody has the complete picture of what it could do.

Omicron has mutations theoretically that helps it to spread more quickly and there is mounting evidence of that happening in South Africa.

Meanwhile, on Friday and Saturday, a number of countries announced new measures and this included stopping Travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho and Eswatini from entering to the UK unless they are UK or Irish nationals, or UK residents.

Furthermore, some parts of the countries havealso announced their precaution to stop the spread of the vibrant, meanwhile some of the measures taken are blocking the travelers from travelling, allowing the travelers to be quarantine, screen and test.

“Among the countries that has already taken measures are US, Australia, Japan, India, and Canada

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