Kenya has confirmed three cases of Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (pictured) has announced.
He was talking in Mombasa where he meet governors over their preparedness to handle Covid-19.
The CS said the variant was detected among fliers at various airports. Two of the cases are Kenyans and one a South African currently quarantined.
“The Omicron, we have detected among travellers in airports and it’s just a matter of time before it becomes the dominant variant across the world,” Kagwe said.
Kenya will be able to establish the spread of the variant in two days’ time, together with the necessary steps to take.
“This variant is now with us and it is a question of whether we are fully prepared. This is not the time to hesitate,” Kagwe said calling for heightened vaccination across the country.
“If you have not been vaccinated, you are threatening your livelihood.”
CS Kagwe told reporters genome sequencing takes a day or two and the government was testing everybody arriving into the country. He would update the country on the Covid situation in two days' time.
Kenya is not offering booster jabs, he said, because it was not through with the first two anti-Covid 19 inoculations which, he said, were working well.
The country is engaging South African authorities on how best to handle the new variant.
“The reports we are getting is it is spreading very fast. The only saving grace is that most people are not experiencing severe symptoms,” the CS added.
He said that scientists and experts are still observing the variant and that sequencing is currently ongoing in laboratories.
The country yesterday reported 331 new Covid-19 infections, with an 11.5 per cent positivity rate. Kenya has some 256,815 total confirmed cases so far.
On Tuesday, Dr Mbira Gikonyo of the Covid-19 Taskforce at the Nairobi Hospital said the facility’s positivity rate has risen from below two per cent to above six per cent with reports from their physicians that the infections were among the vaccinated and the fully vaccinated, mainly those who took their second jab over six months ago.
The omicron variant was first genome-sequenced in South Africa on November 24, 2021.
It has since been identified in 77 countries globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).