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Ómicron: many countries in Europe detect the new variant of the coronavirus before travel restrictions take effect

Omicron, identified in South Africa on Wednesday and classified on Friday as “a variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, has already been detected in several European countries.

The first to confirm the presence of omicron was Belgium.

This is an unvaccinated woman who traveled to Egypt and transited Turkey, and who tested positive on Monday, as confirmed by the Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, Frank Vandenbroucke.

“Caution is necessary, but don’t panic,” Vandenbroucke told a news conference on Friday.

Later, in United Kingdom Two cases of infected people were detected, as indicated this Saturday by the Minister of Health, Sajid Javid.

Javid said the cases were identified by the UK Health Security Agency in Essex and Nottingham, England.

The minister added that both cases are linked to travel to southern Africa and the people, who are related, have isolated themselves along with their families while further tests and contact tracing are carried out.

The same Saturday, in Germany The Ministry of Health confirmed that two passengers who landed on November 24 at Munich airport, from South Africa, were confirmed by PCR as infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Both people asked to be analyzed after learning the information about the new variant, so the ministry called those who arrived on the same flight to German soil to contact the health authorities.

“All people who have been in South Africa in the last 14 days should immediately reduce their contacts, undergo a PCR test, reveal their travel history and immediately contact the health department,” the ministry said in a statement. .

Meanwhile, the Higher Institute of Health (ISS) of Italy reported that a case “attributable” to the omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected in the country.

According to the institution, the man had received both doses of the vaccine.

The Italian Ministry of Health has urged authorities in all regions of the country to increase tracking of the virus.

In most of these countries, the first cases have been detected shortly after they announced travel restrictions from southern Africa on Friday, but even before they went into effect.

Ómicron has also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong e Israel, which announced this Saturday that it would close its borders for two weeks to foreigners.

Other possible cases

On Netherlands 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa they tested positive for covid-19, officials said.

They were all isolated in a hotel near Schiphol airport.

The Dutch authorities are conducting further tests to see if any cases of omicron are detected among the infections.

The infected people were between 600 passengers who were held for several hours at the airport after their arrival, while they were being tested for the coronavirus.

Another country trying to confirm the presence of the variant is Czech Republic, after a female passenger who flew from Namibia via South Africa and Dubai tested positive for covid.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis confirmed that the woman is vaccinated and has mild symptoms.

Restrictions return

Countries around the world have been quick to introduce travel bans and restrictions to southern African countries in an effort to contain the spread of omicron.

The United Kingdom has put 10 nations on its travel red list, which means that starting on Sunday, all people arriving from those places will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

On Friday it included South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini on the list.

In his announcement Saturday, the Health Secretary said Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia would be added to the list.

“We have always been very clear that we will not hesitate to take more measures if that is what is required,” he added.

“Today I can announce that one thing we are doing immediately is conducting specific tests and sequencing the positive cases in the two affected areas.”



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