Health minister Constantino Chiwenga says Zimbabwe is ready to deal with the deadly new Covid-19 variant which originated in neighbouring South Africa.

The variant, B.1.1.529, was also detected in Botswana and has multiple mutations.
Addressing a Health Professions Authority congress in Harare, Chiwenga, said there was no need to panic.

“The ministry would also want to assure the nation that there is no need to panic as the above measures are in place and will mitigate against any variant. Investigations on the significance of this and other characteristics are being done and the public will be notified as information is made available,” Chiwenga said.

“New samples will be collected for genomic sequencing surveillance from among the cases being detected at points of entry and from clusters. Strict monitoring of movements at points of entry is being intensified to minimise the introduction of this new variant into the country,” he said.

This comes as the United Kingdom has red-listed Zimbabwe, Botswana, eSwatini, Namibia and South Africa as hotspots and banned flights to and from the southern African countries for fear of contracting the killer virus.