Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday the detection of the first case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in one of its citizens who came from a North African country, who was not identified, reported the official Saudi news agency SPA.
“The infected person and the people who have been in direct contact have been isolated”, an official source from the Saudi Health Ministry told SPA, and called on all citizens traveling to the Kingdom to adhere to the “quarantines and laboratory tests” imposed by the country.
Saudi Arabia thus became the first gulf country to report detection of this new variant within its borders after announcing last Friday that it was suspending flights with seven southern African countries.
The discovery of this new variant of the coronavirus, identified as B.1.1.529 and baptized with the Greek letter Ómicron by the World Health Organization (WHO), it was announced last Thursday by scientists and health authorities in South Africa, based on samples taken between November 14 and 16.
The new variant is characterized by presenting a unusually high number of mutations, whose impact has yet to be studied.
Despite the limited information available for early detection, numerous countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and the nations of the European Union, quickly announced drastic travel restrictions for southern African countries, measures that generated a strong malaise in the African continent.
(With information from EFE)
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