ALL EYES ON COVID VARIANTS

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Health focuses on preventing new threat

BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO 

THE Ministry of Health and Medical Service says it remained focused on putting together efforts to prevent the entry of any new variants of covid-19 and its potential community transmission in the country.

Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr Culwick Togamana said the variant the ministry is fighting to prevent is Omicron and BA2, its sub variant.

“If not contained, it can lead to the so- called 2nd wave of COVID-19 infection amongst our population,” Togamana said.

He said in the past days and weeks some communities have either tested positive for COVID-19 or reported COVID-19 like symptoms.

“This means the virus is still transmitting in our communities. So, while the cases are showing a downward trend overall, let’s not let our guards down but continue to uphold and practice public health measures and protocols,” Togamana said.

He said in the Ministry’s effort to swiftly detect Omicron, its subvariants or other COVID-19 variants, the Ministry of Health continues to send samples abroad for genome sequencing, the laboratory procedure to identify and determine the type of COVID-19 variant.

Togamana said recently the Ministry has sent a total of 84 samples, 37 being sent as recently as last Friday to Australia for Genome Sequencing.

“So far, the COVID-19 variant detected is still Delta. Samples sent are selected based on certain criteria to ensure they are valid for genome sequencing,” he said.


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