Botswana has recorded 25 cases of the Omicron, Dr Edwin Gorataone Dikoloti, the country´s health minister said Wednesday.
With a population of 2.35 m, the country had as of November 25 recorded four cases of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant identified as B.1.1.529.
Last week, Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi said some of the first cases of the Omicron variant were detected in foreign diplomats who had travelled to the country from Europe.
Omicron was first classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 26 as a “variant of concern.”
Dr Dikoloti, who briefed reporters in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city on the progress of Covid-19 vaccination added that “what we don’t know is whether the new variant is more lethal or not, and how effective current vaccines are against it”.
“1,094,388 people or 78.7 percent of the targeted Botswana citizens and residents aged over 18 had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of Monday, while 982,275 people or 70.6 percent had been fully vaccinated,” he said.
“People are getting angry because neighbouring Botswana is imposing vaccine mandates on those who are passing through their borders,” Namibia President Hage Geingob said Monday during the 37th Covid-19 public briefing.
“Botswana is not stopping individuals from travelling through the country but is merely asking for vaccination passports. The point is, just get vaccinated. The refusal to accept the vaccine mandate is unacceptable,” he added.
In Malawi, three cases of Omicron were reported by the country´s health minister on Thursday in Lilongwe.
Other countries reporting cases of Omicron variant in Africa include Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Serra Leone, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
“This is to confirm that we now have Omicron in our country,” Mr Khumbize Chiponda Malawi health minister told reporters Thursday in Lilongwe.
“Let me inform the nation that through the samples that we have collected from November 9 to December 2 for genomic sequencing, we have isolated three cases of Omicron variant form the 12 samples analysed,” he added.
According to the government official, the country has observed a slight increase in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“On Covid-19 statistics, as of December 8, 2021, Malawi has recorded a total of 62,053 cases including 2,307 deaths, giving us a Case Fatality Ratio of 3.72%”.
“Of these cases, 59,335 (95.6%) were locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 58,826 cases have now recovered (recovery rate of 95%),” he added.
Two weeks ago, Angola shut its borders with seven southern African countries, including Namibia, to curb the spread of the new variant.
It joined several countries globally, including the UK, France and the US, which banned flights from southern Africa following the detection of the variant.