LILONGWE, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Health authorities in Malawi on Thursday disclosed that 3 cases of Omicron variant have been confirmed in the country and the government has tightened measures at all points of entry into the country.
Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponde, disclosed this at a press briefing to update the public on the genomic sequencing of the samples that were collected.
"Let me inform the nation that through the samples that we have collected from 9th November to 2nd December for genomic sequencing, as a country, we have isolated three cases of Omicron variant from the 12 samples analyzed: This is to confirm that we now have Omicron in our country," said the minister.
She said following the development, the Ministry has intensified the screening of travelers at all points of entry to prevent importation of COVID-19 cases.
The ministry has issued more restrictions apart from the existing measures that travelers arriving in the country should have a negative PCR-based COVID-19 certificate that is within 72 hours at the time of arrival.
Among other measures, all arriving travelers of all nationalities, including Malawians, will be expected to show a valid, electronically verifiable COVID-19 full vaccination certificate at the point of entry.
Arriving travelers that are not able to show an electronically verifiable certificate at the point of entry shall be expected to access the COVID-19 vaccine that will be available for free at the point of entry before being processed to enter or re-enter the country.
According to the minister, travelers that are not able to produce a valid electronically verifiable COVID-19 certificate, and refuse to access the COVID-19 vaccine offered at the point of entry, will be required to undergo institutional quarantine for symptoms monitoring for 10 days at their cost.
Kandodo has also requested that institutional Christmas parties should be postponed to safeguard employees.
Malawi has recorded a total of 62,053 cases including 2,307 deaths since the first COVID-19 cases were reported in the country in April 2020.
Currently, there are 688 active cases of the pandemic in the country, with only 5 admissions. Enditem