Zim government confronts Indian variant

Zim government confronts Indian variant
      Vice President and Health Minister Dr Constantino Chiwenga addresses the media in Harare yesterday

THE Government has activated its health emergency systems to deal with the deadly Covid-19 variant B.1. 617 first detected in India after genomic sequencing tests revealed it is now in Zimbabwe.

This particular variant has presented the world with a huge challenge and India has so far been the hardest hit as it has recorded a greatly increased number of fatalities in recent weeks.

Zimbabwe has so far defied the odds with a thorough and effective response to the pandemic.

Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga yesterday said Zimbabwe was now going to escalate its response mechanism to contain the new variant.

“Genomic sequencing test was carried out on samples collected from a reported focalised outbreak in Kwekwe which was linked to a traveller from India on the 29th of April 2021, a high risk Covid-19 transmission area.

“The test conducted revealed that the B.1.617 variants predominantly from India was detected at the focalised outbreak in Kwekwe. The nation is therefore advised that this variant B.1. 617 is now in Zimbabwe,” said VP Chiwenga.

Zimbabwe’s ability to respond to the pandemic has received international rave reviews with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and China where the virus was first detected all commending Government’s efforts.

Government also added some travel restrictions to minimise the importation of the virus and protect citizens from the deadly pandemic.

Those entering Zimbabwe must undergo a PCR test not more than 48 hours before their arrival and those with valid negative test will be compelled to quarantine at home or hotel for 10 days, but health authorities manning the ports reserve the right for a re-test.

VP Chiwenga said those coming from hot spots would be subjected to thorough checking to avoid taking in the variants.

“People travelling from or transiting from India will be subject to mandatory quarantine at a designated quarantine centre and at their own cost.

“These travellers will be subjected to a Covid-19 test on arrival despite the status of their travelling certificate,” said VP Chiwenga.

“Travellers coming into the country from other countries should present 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 at one’s expense.

“Travellers will be quarantined for 10 days from date of arrival,” said VP Chiwenga.

He advised people to continue abiding by Covid-19 containment measures prescribed by health authorities, including social distancing, correct wearing of face masks and improved hygiene.