Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MoH) says the number of Omicron variant cases detected in the country has increased after more genomic sequencing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute.
Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director general of health services at the MoH, said the number of detected omicron cases has risen to 25 cases up from the seven cases initially confirmed by the Ministry of Health on December 07, 2021.
The Covid19 Omicron variant cases were detected in travelers who had arrived at Entebbe International Airport and were from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
“This follows the genomic sequencing of samples obtained from travelers through Entebbe International Airport between November 28 and 29,” noted Mwebesa.
“Majority of these cases are under home isolation in Kampala and Wakiso districts.”
But Mwebesa said neither “secondary cases” nor “any significant shift in transmission, or changes in severity of the illness amongst the confirmed Covid19 cases” have been detected.
“However, since starting mandatory testing of all passengers at Entebbe International Airport on October 27, 2021, the number of positive cases among incoming travelers has increased from a daily average of 6 to 90 cases in the past seven days including confirmed imported cases of omicron,” he said.
He also noted that most of the positive cases are mainly among travelers from Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Congo, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
The director general also shared what MoH so far knows about the Omicron variant.
“Further, evidence from elsewhere in the over 60 countries and territories, where the omicron variant has been shown to be very highly transmissible, it appears it will replace the existing SARS CoV 2 viruses and variants. It also appears to have a shorter incubation period, and infects both infants and adults, and affects the unvaccinated more,” he explained.
“However, the Ministry of Health has observed that the mortality and severity of the omicron variant appears to be lower than the delta variant.”
He further revealed that MoH was working with regional and national authorities in South Africa to understand the omicron virus better and ensure optimal response and control.