Uganda on alert over new COVID-19 variant, to start genome surveillance

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Uganda will soon start surveillance over the new COVID-19 variant, a senior health official said on Tuesday.

Joyce Moriku, minister of state for primary health, said in a statement that the ministry is closely following the global trends of SARS-CoV-2 virus, currently termed as 501.V2 Variant reported in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria.

“So far, we know that the new variant is spreading faster than what we experienced in the first wave,” said Moriku.

“It’s important to note this new variant strain has not been reported in Uganda,” she added.

She said the ministry, working with regional partners and Africa Centre for Disease Control through Uganda Virus Research Institute, will start genome surveillance for the new variant to determine its prevalence in the country.

“We know that the transmission of the virus and control measures remain the same as the virus in the 1st wave, consistent use of face masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene,” said Moriku.

Several countries have banned flights from Britain and South Africa to prevent the spread of the new virus strain.

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