Zimbabwe confirms presence of COVID-19 variant discovered in India

A worker takes part in making surgical gowns used by COVID-19 frontline medical workers at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, Sept. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Tafara Mugwara)
A medical worker checks the temperature of a student at Gateway Secondary school in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Sept. 15, 2020. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)

Zimbabwean Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga on Wednesday confirmed in the country the presence of the COVID-19 variant that emerged in India.

The discovery followed genomic sequencing tests done on a person in Kwekwe who has recently returned from India.

A relative of the traveler died last week from COVID-19 while 11 other close contacts have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The nation is therefore advised that this variant B.1.617 is now in Zimbabwe,” Chiwenga said in a statement.

Travelers from India will be subject to a COVID-19 test on arrival despite their health status as well as to mandatory quarantine at a designated center at their own cost, he added.

“Travelers coming into the country from other countries should present with a COVID-19 PCR test done not more than 48 hours from departure,” he said.

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