JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -A senior Botswana well being official stated on Tuesday that 16 of the whole 19 circumstances of the Omicron coronavirus variant detected within the nation have been asymptomatic, whereas President Mokgweetsi Masisi stated journey bans on its residents have been unfair and unjustified.
Pamela Smith-Lawrence, Performing Director of Well being within the Ministry of Well being and Wellness, instructed Reuters in an interview that almost all of the 19 individuals who have been discovered to be contaminated with the brand new Omicron variant have already examined unfavourable.
Whereas 16 folks have been asymptomatic, the remaining three had “very, very gentle” signs.
Botswana on Friday stated the nation was investigating sure mutations of the coronavirus that have been present in 4 international nationals who have been within the nation on a diplomatic mission. It has since reported one other 15 circumstances of the brand new variant.
Whereas it’s nonetheless not established the place Omicron first emerged, on Nov. 25 South Africa, adopted by Botswana a day later, introduced that they had detected a brand new variant whose mutations have been completely different from the dominant Delta variant.
This prompted rapid air journey curbs on southern African nations from a number of European and Asian nations, a call which has been criticised by each South Africa and Botswana.
“The choice to ban our residents from travelling to sure nations was swiftly made and isn’t solely unfair however can also be unjustified,” President Masisi stated on state-run TV.
“In mild of the brand new variant, we’re continually monitoring our COVID-19 detection indicators they usually stay secure,” Masisi stated, including that the nation has skilled a lower in infections and deaths during the last three months.
The 4 international nationals, aged between 30 and 65, got here to Botswana on Nov. 7, examined constructive on Nov. 11 and the brand new mutations have been discovered on Nov. 22, Smith-Lawrence stated, including the federal government uploaded the info on the worldwide database the subsequent day.
With out giving additional particulars, she stated that 14 out of the 19 folks thus far detected with the variant have been international nationals.
She stated throughout the subsequent two to 3 weeks the federal government can be able to present extra readability on whether or not Omicron is extra virulent than its predecessors or not.
(extra reporting by Brian Benza in Gaborone; Modifying by Jon Boyle, William Maclean, Kirsten Donovan)