MoH monitoring Covid-19 new variant

The Ministry of Health says it is following up with keen interest on reports that a Malawian citizen has tasted positive to new Coronavirus variant in Israel.

Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr. Charles Mwansambo says the ministry is yet to receive information on the issue.

"Officially, we have not been communicated but following the report, we are following up the issue to get more details to ascertain the incident and to facilitate contract tracing," said Mwansambo.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Friday that a new variant of concern has been identified in some Southern African countries including South Africa and Botswana.

WHO said the new variant is B.1.1.529 (Omicron) is characterized by an increased risk of re-infection as compared to other variants of concern, and is responsible for an increased number of cases being reported in some countries.

Mwansambo: We are monitoring the situation

Mwansambo however said the country is routinely conducting genomic sequencing on Covid-19 positive cases to track types of variants circulating in the country.

"So far, from the samples that we have been collecting, the Omicron variant has not been isolated. However, surveillance on the same has been intensified and the country will be informed accordingly on any developments," said Mwansambo.

Omicron variant according to Mwansambo mutates but said basic preventive and containment measures remain the same.

The Ministry has however said it has intensified screening of travellers in all entry points into the country.