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 - Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.
Family doctor Elke Happich prepares a syringe containing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to vaccinate patients at their homes in Cologne, Germany - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Two Cases of Omicron Strain Detected in UK

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The new strain was originally registered in South Africa and Botswana, and it is feared to be highly transmissible and have resistance to vaccines.
Germany and the Czech Republic have reported suspected cases of the B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant, which was named Omicron by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to Prague, the virus was detected in a person who spent time in Namibia. Germany reported a case in the state of Hesse, in a traveller returning from South Africa.
The US, Canada, the European Union, Britain, Japan, Israel, and many other countries have already imposed or announced restrictions for those travelling from southern African countries.
On Friday, the World Health Organisation identified the new South African strain as one of concern, due to a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous.
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22:45 GMT 27.11.2021
Czech Hospital Confirms One Case of Omicron Variant - Reports
RAGUE (Sputnik) - A hospital in the city of Liberec in the Czech Republic says it has confirmed a case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Czech TV reports.

On Saturday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said that a woman was being tested for the Omicron strain. She had traveled to Namibia and returned to the Czech Republic through the South African Republic and Dubai.

The Luberec hospital said later on Saturday, as quoted by Czech TV, that the woman’s test results confirmed with 90 percent accuracy that she had contracted the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.

The woman had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and only has mild symptoms. She remains in isolation, as well as another eight people who arrived with her.
21:59 GMT 27.11.2021
Israel Closes Borders to Foreigners For Two Weeks to Prevent Spread of Omicron Strain
21:54 GMT 27.11.2021
Omicron Strain Not Found in Turkey, Health Minister Says
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey has not yet registered any cases of the new Omicron coronavirus strain, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

"We are among the countries that took the earliest action against the Nu (omicron) variant that is on the agenda. The most common variant in Turkey is the Delta variant. Nu variant has not been found," Koca said on Twitter on Saturday.

According to the health minister, Turkey continues to monitor the developments related to the variants emerging in different countries and takes all the necessary precautions.
21:53 GMT 27.11.2021
UK's Johnson Says Omicron Might Be Spread Between Fully Vaccinated People
"I must stress this, as always with a new variant, there are many things that we just can not know at this early stage. But our scientists are learning more hour by hour. And it does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated," Johnson said at a press conference.
21:52 GMT 27.11.2021
Two Omicron Cases Detected in Germany for First Time - Reports
BERLIN (Sputnik) - Two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant were detected in Germany for the first time, the Focus Online news outlet reported.

Both cases were logged in Munich, and those who contracted the new strain, returned from the South African Republic.
21:52 GMT 27.11.2021
No Reasons for Panic Over Omicron Covid Strain, WHO Says
A petrol attendant stands next to a newspaper headline in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
WHO Says No Need for Panic Over Omicron Coronavirus Strain as Much Remains Unknown
18:55 GMT 27.11.2021
Dutch Health Authority 'Suspects' It Detected Omicron Variant in Netherlands
17:54 GMT 27.11.2021
Two Omicron Cases Confirmed in Bavaria, Germany
Two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant were confirmed by the Bavarian Health Ministry. Both cases were logged in Munich, and those who contracted the new strain, returned from the South African Republic.
17:46 GMT 27.11.2021
Mauritius to Suspend Air Traffic From 6 Countries in South Africa
Mauritius will suspend flights from six countries in South Africa starting Sunday amid the spreading new Omicron coronavirus variant, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
"Following the identification of a new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529) in South Africa and neighbouring countries, Government has decided to adopt the following measures with respect to: South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini [Swaziland] and Zimbabwe. All commercial passenger flights from South Africa to Mauritius are suspended with effect from 23:59 hours on Sunday 28 November 2021," the ministry said in a communique.
Those who were in one of the countries listed above less than 14 days before arriving in Mauritius, will be banned from entering. Return of Mauritian citizens from the South African countries will be coordinated by the foreign ministry.
17:19 GMT 27.11.2021
Fauci: Omicron Coronavirus Strain to Spread 'All Over'
The new Omicron coronavirus variant has not been detected in the United States yet, but the strain is highly likely to spread far and wide, top US infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Saturday.
"We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you are already having travel-related cases that they have noted in Israel and Belgium, and other places; when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over..." Fauci told the NBC broadcaster.
When asked if the strain can already be in the US, Fauci said that he "would not be surprised."
Earlier in the day, the chairperson of council of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, expressed concern that the new coronavirus strain might be as dangerous as the Ebola virus, and as contagious as the Delta coronavirus variant.
16:50 GMT 27.11.2021
URGENT: Boris Johnson Lays Out UK Response to COVID-19 Omicron Variant
Britain's PM Johnson holds press conference on new coronavirus variant, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
UK PM Orders Travel Quarantine and Mask-Wearing to Combat COVID-19 Omicron Variant
15:58 GMT 27.11.2021
South Africa to Share Omicron Strain Samples With Foreign Biosecurity Bodies
South Africa will share the samples of the new Omicron coronavirus variant with biosecurity agencies of other nations, the director of the country's Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, Tulio de Oliveira, said on Saturday.
The country will send the strain samples to main biosecurity agencies in the world, as was done with the Beta variant, de Oliveira told the Financial Times.
Requests from the US and the UK have already come, the official said, adding that South Africa has always been closely cooperating with overseas biosecurity agencies to work out solutions as quickly as possible.South Africa will share the samples of the new Omicron coronavirus variant with biosecurity agencies of other nations, the director of the country's Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, Tulio de Oliveira, said on Saturday.
The country will send the strain samples to main biosecurity agencies in the world, as was done with the Beta variant, de Oliveira told the Financial Times.
Requests from the US and the UK have already come, the official said, adding that South Africa has always been closely cooperating with overseas biosecurity agencies to work out solutions as quickly as possible.
15:08 GMT 27.11.2021
Czech Republic Testing Traveler From Namibia for Omicron Strain
The central laboratory of the Czech Health Ministry is testing a woman who arrived from Namibia for the new Omicron coronavirus variant, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Saturday.
"The woman who was tested for the new Omicron coronavirus strain, had been to Namibia, and returned to the Czech Republic through the South African Republic and Dubai. We are waiting for her test results. She is in isolation now, and all her contacts are being checked," Babis tweeted.
The woman had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and her condition is deemed as normal, Babis said.
14:34 GMT 27.11.2021
Qatar Airways Says Will Not Accept Travelers From South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
Qatar Airways announced on Saturday it will not allow passengers from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to board its flights due to the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
"With immediate effect, passengers will no longer be accepted for travel from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique on #QatarAirways flights, we will continue to review the situation on a daily basis as new information becomes available from the WHO," the airline tweeted.
14:25 GMT 27.11.2021
Two Cases of Omicron Strain Detected in UK
Two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in the United Kingdom, the country's Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Saturday.
Those two persons are currently in isolation, the minister told the UK Sky News broadcaster.
Javid added that targeted testing will be conducted in Chelmsford and Nottingham, where the cases were logged.
"This is a real reminder that this pandemic is far from over," Javid told Sky News.
12:14 GMT 27.11.2021
At Least 61 Travellers From South Africa to Netherlands Diagnosed With Coronavirus
PARIS (Sputnik) - Coronavirus has been detected in 61 passengers from two KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flights arriving in the Netherlands from South Africa, Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported on Saturday.
According to the broadcaster, the flights landed in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Friday, with all the passengers being kept there until late at night as everyone had to be tested for COVID-19 and wait for their results.
Those tested positive will be put in a special isolated hotel at Schiphol or nearby, where they will have to stay for five or seven days, depending on whether or not they have symptoms.
It is not yet known what kind of variant they are infected with.
11:38 GMT 27.11.2021
Thailand to Ban Travel From 8 African Countries Over Omicron Strain
BANGKOK (Sputnik) - Thailand will ban travel from eight African countries in light of the emergence and spread of the new Omicron coronavirus strain, Opas Karnkawinpong, the director general of the country's disease control department, said on Saturday.

"The health ministry and the government center for control over the spread of COVID-19 will soon release a statement, banning entry travelers from these countries from entering Thailand starting December 2021," Karnkawinpong said at a briefing.

Until then, according to the official, those arriving from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique cannot use quarantine-free entry programs for fully vaccinated tourists.

"All travelers arriving in the coming days from the eight African countries have to undergo a full 14-day quarantine regardless of the vaccination status," Karnkawinpong stated.

Karnkawinpong added that the new strain has not yet been detected in Thailand.
11:37 GMT 27.11.2021
Japan Restricts Entry From 3 More African Countries Over Omicron Variant, Reports Say
TOKYO (Sputnik) - The Japanese government has decided to impose restrictions on travel from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia over the concern about the Omicron coronavirus strain, the Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday.
The country already restricted entry from Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana on Friday.
Everyone arriving from these nations has to spend ten days in quarantine at specially designated facilities.
11:37 GMT 27.11.2021
UNICEF Has No Plans to Evacuate Staff From South Africa Amid Spread of New COVID Strain
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United Nations Children's Fund does not plan to evacuate its staff from South Africa amid the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant and continues to implement the preventive measures, the UN agency's Chief of Communication and Partnerships in South Africa Toby Fricker told Sputnik.

"There are no plans to evacuate staff from South Africa, the country has very good medical facilities", Fricker said.

Fricker also pointed out that the measures in place for UNICEF and UN staff remain the same.

"Vaccination combined with mask-wearing, social distancing and hand washing, as well as good ventilation when indoors, continue to be the most effective ways to stop COVID spread and prevent severe illness", Fricker added.

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