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Omicron was first discovered in four foreigners on November 11: Botswana Government

Botswana, in a statement by its health and wellness ministry, said the four diplomats arrived in the country on November 7.

• November 29, 2021

Botswana authorities have said that the new COVID-19 mutation, Omicron, was first discovered by the country’s scientists in four foreigners.

The country, in a statement by its health and wellness ministry, said four diplomats who arrived in Botswana on November 7, were carriers of the virus.

On November 11, the COVID-19 test results of the quartet came back positive after they had completed their diplomatic mission and were planning to return to their home country.

However, On November 24, further test (Genomic sequencing) on the samples showed the virus had mutated to B.1.1.529, otherwise known as Omicron.

The Botswana government said the virus has various mutations and complex sample analysis was ongoing to study the behavioural pattern of the virus.

Noting that the quartet diplomats have since left the country, the authorities said all persons who had contact with them have been traced and they all tested negative.

The government statement emphasised that no one showed symptoms of the virus.

The government said it was yet to draw major conclusions as information continues to evolve regarding the new variant.

Although, it is yet to be determined if Omicron is a deadlier version of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked countries to prepare for a surge in infections.

In the meantime, countries like Israel, Japan and Morocco have closed their borders to prevent foreign travellers from infecting citizens and residents.

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