The government has emphasized on the need for the public to continue taking all the precautions measures against the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant that is considered as a new trend of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The precautions include taking the Covid-19 vaccine, avoiding unnecessary gatherings, and regular washing of hands by using flowing water with soap or sanitizer as well as putting on face mask when in public gatherings.
Speaking in Mbeya on Tuesday, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Dorothy Gwajima said despite the ongoing initiative on promoting vaccinations, the government in collaboration with stakeholders has continued to strengthen strategies of fighting the pandemic.
She assured that the government is taking all the needed efforts to improve the health delivery system, including expanding scope of the Covid-19 testing in the country as well as putting in place five diagnostic centers in different parts of the country.
Her list of the diagnostic centers includes the national public health laboratory, Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital, Dodoma and Arusha Referral Hospital as well as the Bugando Hospital in Mwanza.
“Testing in other areas will take effect as the government is working to equip all the regional referral hospitals with the capacity to test Covid-19 samples,” said the minister.
Dr Gwajima further said the public should continue taking covid-19 vaccines, since they are issued freely and on voluntary basis.
The minister also named Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Arusha, Mwanza, Ruvuma, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mtwara and Kagera as the best regions that have performed well in the issuance of Covid-19 vaccine.
“I also call on Regional and District Medical Officers (RMOs and DMOs) across the country and their teams to make follow-up and provide reports on all patients as per the guidelines and directives of the ministry,” said the minister.
In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed omicron infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.
According to the WHO, the new virus is said to be stronger with high capacity of spreading fast.
Separately, when speaking during virtual media training on Covid-19 vaccines in the country, Government’s Spokesperson, Gerson Msigwa said Tanzania has not recorded any case of new variant, noting that more information would be provided by health experts.
Mr Msigwa called upon the local media to play a role of providing right information over the vaccines in order to clear the myths circulated on social media either unintentionally or intentionally by scrupulous individuals.
The virtual media training, held on Saturday, was organised by the Amref Health Africa Tanzania.
According to the WHO, the new variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning.
Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa
Article first published on https://www.dailynews.co.tz/news/2021-12-0161a71eea729c3.aspx