HARARE: THE deadly B.1.617 Indian COVID-19 variant which devastated the eastern country, India and killed at least 300 000 people in a week is now in Zimbabwe, government has confirmed.
In a statement, Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga said the variant was discovered from tests conducted on samples from Kwekwe which were linked to a traveler from India.
A preliminary report also identified that the traveler, who later succumbed, along with his family members whom he travelled with tested positive on 9 May 2021 having travelled back into the country on 29 April 2021.
The report also notes that eight people also tested positive of the virus after contact tracing with four showing symptoms such as fever and coughing while the other four showed no symptoms.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Childcare has therefore made it mandatory that travelers from India be subjected to quarantine at designated quarantine centers at their own cost.
“People traveling from or transiting from India will be subject to mandatory quarantine at a designated quarantine center and at their own cost. These travelers will be subjected to a COVID-19 test on arrival despite the status of their travelling certificate,” said the Ministry in a statement.
The variant crippled India’s Health sector despite being one of the biggest Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers in the world.
The deadly variant has also been discovered in Botswana.
Meanwhile, as at 19 May 2021, Zimbabwe had 38 612 confirmed cases, including 36 416 recoveries and 1 583 deaths. To date, a total of 605 556 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.