Zimbabwe’s Health Ministry says it has detected the first cases of a new coronavirus variant that emerged in India and was responsible for a surge of infections and deaths in the Asian country.
In a statement on Wednesday, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is Minister of Health and Child Care, urged caution.
He revealed that a genomic sequencing test on samples collected from a reported focalised outbreak in Kwekwe linked to a traveller from India on April 29, 2021, emerged positive for the variant.
“The test conducted revealed that a. the B.1.617 variants predominantly from the Republic of India was detected at the focalised outbreak in Kwekwe,” VP Chiwenga said.
Consequently, VP Chiwenga said people travelling from or transiting from India will be subject to mandatory quarantine at a designated centre and at their own cost.
He said,” These travellers will be subjected to a Covid 19 test on arrival despite the status of their travelling certificate.”
VP Chiwenga said citizens should observe Covid-19 protocols to help curb the spread of the virus.
Some of the protocols include wearing face masks at all times, handwashing and using hand sanitisers.
VP Chiwenga added, “Travellers coming into the country from other countries should present with a Covid 19 PCR test done not more than 48 hours from the time of departure, failure of which this will be done on arrival on one`s expense. Travellers will be quarantined for 10 days from date of arrival.”
As at 18 May 2021, Zimbabwe had 38 595 confirmed cases, including 36 371 recoveries and 1 583 deaths.
To date, 600 579 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19.