Zimbabwe investigates presence of Indian variant as two returnees test positive for Covid-19

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ZTN Correspondent

Two returnees from India have tested positive for covid-19, sparking fears that the variant first discovered in India might have made its way into Zimbabwe.

Seven contacts of the two returnees tested positive, bringing to 25 the total number of Covid-19 cases recorded on Thursday. This is according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

South Africa recently detected two cases of the Indian variant as India continues to battle one of its worst public health crises, reporting over 24 million Covid-19 cases and more than 262 000 deaths to date.

While there is suspicion that the Indian variant of the virus may be more virulent and resistant to vaccines, authorities in Zimbabwe say they are carrying out investigations to establish if the Indian variant is indeed in the country.

Speaking to ZTN, Health and Child Care Secretary, Dr Jasper Chimedza said samples of all returnees and contacts have been collected and await results. He indicated that the next course of action will be determined by the resultant outcome of tests.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, Dr Ruth Labode has called for mandatory quarantine of returnees from India and other hotspots. Dr Labode added that it may be wise to adopt mandatory 14 day quarantine even for travellers who possess negative PCR tests on arrival, a practice currently being implemented in most first world destinations.
Under the current policy, Zimbabwe is not placing travellers who test negative for Covid-19 on quarantine.