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Botswana says new Covid-19 variant was found in four people who entered country

The Botswana department of health and wellness on Friday said that the new Covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529), which was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on Wednesday was detected in four people who entered Botswana on a diplomatic mission on November 7. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The Botswana department of health and wellness on Friday said that the new Covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529), which was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on Wednesday was detected in four people who entered Botswana on a diplomatic mission on November 7. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 27, 2021

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Cape Town – The Botswana department of health and wellness on Friday said that the new Covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529), which was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on Wednesday was detected in four people who entered Botswana on a diplomatic mission on November 7.

The country's health department says that it is currently investigating certain mutations of the SARS-COV-2 virus that has been reported widely on Friday, leading to the United Kingdom (UK) implementing a travel ban on six southern African countries, including South Africa.

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According to a government statement, the four tested positive for Covid-19 on November 11 as they were preparing to return. Further genomic sequencing that was conducted on the samples confirmed the virus as B.1.1.529 variant on Wednesday.

The health department says that immediate results of the ongoing investigations show that the new virus has many mutations, some of which have been previously characterised.

The ministry of health and wellness says it is conducting further investigations and sample analysis to gain more knowledge and understanding about the properties and behaviour of the new strain.

“Contrary to speculations and in some cases insinuations by some that the variant was only detected in Botswana, the truth is that the variant has so far been detected in other countries in Africa and beyond,” the ministry said a statement.

The department of health and wellness said that although all the four cases have left the country, contact tracing is ongoing.

“All contacts who have so far been identified in the country have no Covid-19 symptoms and have tested negative for Covid-19.”

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The ministry has further called on members of the public not to panic, but remain vigilant and continue adhering to all Covid-19 protocols, the ministry said.

ANA

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