Kenya has detected its first cases of the Omicron variant among travelers.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, in a meeting with the Council of Governors (COG) at the Sarova Whitesands beach resort, confirmed the development while noting the affected patients are in quarantine.
COG chair Martin Wambora explained that the health facilities around the country are ready in the event of a surge.
Kagwe also stressed the need for Kenyans to get vaccinated while clarifying that the government will not force anyone.
Omicron, the latest Covid-19 variant, has been detected in 77 countries since it was first identified three weeks ago, fueling concerns that its large number of mutations will help it spread faster.
Due to its fast-spreading nature, Kagwe urged Kenyans to adhere to health protocols and avoid crowded areas. He further urged Kenyans to get vaccinated.
“We are carrying out sequencing to see it’s spread. We expect it to become the dominant variant globally. We should all get vaccinated. Those vaccinated are not getting severe sickness,” he said.
Scientists say it’s still too early to know whether Omicron causes more or less severe Covid-19 than the previous variants.
However, in South Africa, scientists have said they see no sign that the Omicron variant is causing more severe illness.