HARARE, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga on Thursday confirmed the presence of the omicron variant in the country.
He urged the nation to step up vigilance and adherence to COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures to curb a fourth wave of the pandemic.
"We are doing the genomic sequencing and we have already identified that we now have the omicron variant in this country and therefore we must remain vigilant," Chiwenga said.
"We want everyone to be safe so let's be vaccinated and let's follow protocols," he added.
The confirmation came as the number of daily cases rose sharply to 712 on Wednesday from 40 on Sunday.
On Tuesday, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a raft of new measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, including introducing mandatory quarantine for visitors and returning residents despite status of PCR results, and an extension of curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.