African countries

Omicron confirmed in nine African countries, officials say – KGET 17

FILE – A woman receives a coronavirus vaccine at Kololo airstrip in Kampala, Uganda, May 31, 2021. Uganda has its first seven cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, an official has confirmed. health on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, saying the variant was detected in travelers from South Africa and Nigeria who arrived in Uganda on November 29. (AP Photo/Nicholas Bamulanzeki, File)

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Cases of Omicron have been confirmed in at least nine African countries, with some officials reporting that early cases appear mild.

The countries declaring omicron are: Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

South Africa remains the epicenter of the omicron outbreak, with experts saying the overwhelming majority of its thousands of new cases per day are of the new variant.

In East Africa, Uganda reported its first seven cases of omicron on Tuesday. The variant was detected in travelers from South Africa and Nigeria who arrived at Entebbe International Airport on November 29 and are currently in isolation, said director of clinical services Charles Olaro.

All travelers have mild symptoms, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said. Five are from Nigeria and two from South Africa, she said.

In southern Africa, Namibia has confirmed 18 cases of omicron, none of which have been hospitalized, the country’s health minister Kalumbi Shangula said.

Early evidence suggests omicron spreads faster, but initially symptoms appear to be mild, he said.

“Cases are increasing, but admissions are low,” Shangula said of hospitalizations. Omicron quickly became the dominant variant in Namibia, he said.

“Omicron is a new variant, we don’t yet know more about its behavior and the effect it will have on the trajectory of the pandemic,” he said. “Available information indicates that current vaccines are still effective in reducing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Nigeria confirmed three more cases of omicron on Tuesday, bringing the number of confirmed cases of the variant in the West African country to six, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.

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AP reporters Sonja Smith in Windhoek, Namibia and Chinedu Asadu in Lagos, Nigeria, contributed.