Omicron confirmed in nine African countries

Author
AP,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Dec 2021, 1:20PM
A woman receives a coronavirus vaccination at the Kololo airstrip in Kampala. (Photo / AP)
A woman receives a coronavirus vaccination at the Kololo airstrip in Kampala. (Photo / AP)

Omicron confirmed in nine African countries

Author
AP,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Dec 2021, 1:20PM

Omicron cases have been confirmed in at least nine African countries, with some officials reporting that initial cases appear to be mild. 

Countries reporting omicron include: Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 

South Africa remains the epicentre of the omicron outbreak, with experts saying that the overwhelming majority of its thousands of new cases per day are of the new variant. 

In East Africa, Uganda reported its first seven cases of omicron on Tuesday. The variant was detected in travelers from South Africa and Nigeria who arrived at Entebbe International Airport on November 29 and are currently in isolation, the director of clinical services Charles Olaro said. 

All of the travelers have mild symptoms, Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng said. Five are from Nigeria and two came from South Africa, she said. 

In southern Africa, Namibia has confirmed 18 cases of Omicron, none of which are hospitalised, the country's health minister Kalumbi Shangula said. 

Early evidence suggests that Omicron spreads faster but initially the symptoms appear to be mild, he said. 

"Cases are going up, but admissions are low," Shangula said of hospitalisations. Omicron has quickly become the dominant variant in Namibia, he said. 

"Omicron is a new variant, more is yet to be known about it, its behavior and the effect that it will have on the pandemic trajectory," he said. "The information available indicates current vaccines are still effective in reducing severe illness, hospitalisation and death." 

Nigeria on Tuesday confirmed three additional cases of omicron, increasing the number of confirmed cases of the variant in the West African country to six, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control. 

- AP