UK confirms two cases of Omicron mutation

The UK confirmed the first two cases of infection with the Omicron variant, who were from southern Africa, while Germany also detected a suspected case.

“Following genome sequencing last night, UK Health Security has confirmed two cases of Covid-19 with mutations consistent with the Omicron variant,” British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said today in a statement. dad. “We acted quickly and the infected person is self-isolating, while contact tracing continues.”

One case was detected in the city of Chelmsford, northeast London, and the other in the city of Nottingham, central England. The two cases are related to each other, with one person coming from southern Africa.

Four more African countries, including Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola, will be added to the UK’s travel restriction list from 4am on November 28.

“This is a stark reminder that we are not yet out of this pandemic. Vaccination has never been more important than now, get your first shot if you haven’t already, and if you qualify, book one. booster injection schedule as soon as possible. We will not hesitate to take further action if required, “emphasized Mr. Javid.

The UK on November 25 described Omicron as “the worst mutant” and was one of the first countries to urgently impose travel restrictions on six African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini . British nationals returning from these countries will have to quarantine.

The health agency of the German state of Hesse also identified the first suspected case of infection with the Omicron strain in the country, a returnee from South Africa.

“The Omicron variant most likely arrived in Germany,” Kai Klose, an official in charge of social affairs in the western German state of Hesse, tweeted today, referring to the newly discovered strain in South Africa. .

Medical staff move a Covid-19 patient at Muenster Osnabruck airport, northern Germany on November 26.  Photo: AFP.

Medical staff move a Covid-19 patient at Muenster Osnabruck airport, northern Germany on November 26. Photo: AFP.

According to Klose, tests last night on a person returning from South Africa showed “some typical mutations of Omicron”. “Because of the high level of suspicion, this person has been isolated at home. Full gene sequencing is being completed,” the official added.

The plane carrying this Covid-19 case landed at Frankfurt International Airport, the busiest place in Germany. The suspected case of the Omicron strain comes as Germany, the most populous country in the European Union (EU), is grappling with a severe outbreak.

Belgium is the first European country to detect an infection with the Omicron strain, an unvaccinated person who returned from Egypt on 11/11. Germany recorded a new suspected case of infection, a returnee from South Africa. The Netherlands detected 61 cases of Covid-19 on two flights from South Africa and is doing further analysis to determine whether the Omicron variant is related.

The new strain was discovered in the context of Europe struggling with an increase in Covid-19 cases, when the continent once again became the epicenter of the outbreak. The European Union (EU) health authorities admit the continent is at “high to very high” risk from the new strain.

Omicron was first reported in South Africa, several other cases were also recorded in Botswana, Israel and the Hong Kong special administrative region of China. The World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting on November 26, ranking Omicron on the list of worrying mutations due to its higher infectivity than Delta.

Meanwhile, South African Medical Association President Angelique Coetzee told Sputnik that the new strain causes mild symptoms and has not been detected in vaccinated people in South Africa. Most of the cases that have been tracked recently are young people, under 40 years old.

Huyen Le (Follow AFP)

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