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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.
A vial and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed United States' flag and words Omicron SARS-CoV-2 in this illustration taken, November 27, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration - Sputnik International

COVID-19 Live Updates: Omicron COVID Strain Indicating 'It Can Spread Rapidly', Fauci Says

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the B.1.1.529 strain, dubbed Omicron, has a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous.
Countries across the world continue to introduce travel restrictions, suspending flights to and from Southern African nations to stop the spread of a new coronavirus variant called Omicron. Suspected cases of the Omicron strain, however, were already registered in the EU earlier this week, with Belgium becoming the first European country to confirm the mutated strain.
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22:47 GMT 28.11.2021
Canada Confirms Two Cases of Omicron Variant
"Today, the province of Ontario has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Ottawa, both of which were reported in individuals with recent travel from Nigeria. Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation," Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said in a Sunday statement.

According to the statement, point-of-arrival testing for COVID-19 will be encouraged for all travellers irrespective of where they are coming from. On Friday, Canada introduced a ban on foreign nationals travelling to Canada who had been to certain countries in southern Africa.

"The best defence against the Omicron variant is stopping it at our border," the Ontario government emphasized, adding that it is "prepared and ready to respond to this new variant."
22:12 GMT 28.11.2021
Omicron Variant Responsible For Most of New COVID-19 Cases in South Africa, President Says

"The emergence of the Omicron variant and the recent rise in cases have made it clear that we will have to live with this virus for some time to come," President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a Sunday national address, broadcast on Twitter.

According to the president, most of the COVID-19 cases registered in Gauteng in the past two weeks are of the Omicron variant. He warned that yet another wave of the infection could start in the country and called on South Africans to get vaccinated.

"The emergence of the Omicron variant should be a wake-up call to the world that vaccine inequality cannot be allowed to continue," Ramaphosa stressed.

He called on other countries not to impose travel bans, but to support developing economies in accessing and manufacturing coronavirus vaccines.

South African Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla told Sputnik on Sunday that he is unhappy with travel restrictions that many nations imposed on his country and its neighbours after the emergence of the new Omicron strain.

The Head of Division of Medical Virology at the University of Stellenbosch, Prof. Wolfgang Preiser, told Sputnik that people are advised to continue to take the normal precautions including avoiding close contact, crowded places, confined spaces, maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
21:25 GMT 28.11.2021
8 Possible Cases of Omicron COVID-19 Strain Identified in France - Reports
18:35 GMT 28.11.2021
Ramaphosa Slams ‘Unfair Discrimination’ as More States Slap South Africa With Travel Restrictions Over Omicron Strain
18:19 GMT 28.11.2021
South Africa is Looking at Booster Jabs for Vulnerable Categories of Population, President Says
18:12 GMT 28.11.2021
WATCH South African President Address the Nation Amid Rise in Omicron Variant Cases
FILE PHOTO: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a press conference after the G20 Compact with Africa conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany August 27, 2021. Tobias Schwarz/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.11.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
President Ramaphosa Delivers Speech on South Africa's COVID Fight Amid Spread of Omicron Strain
17:57 GMT 28.11.2021
South African Doctor Says 'Mild' COVID-19 Variant Omicron Already 'Seeded' in UK
A healthcare worker collects a swab from a passenger for a PCR test against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before traveling to Uganda, amidst the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.11.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
South African Doctor Says 'Mild' COVID-19 Variant Omicron Already 'Seeded' in UK
16:47 GMT 28.11.2021
Should We Be Afraid of the New Coronavirus Strain?
Syringes with needles are seen in front of a displayed stock graph and words Omicron SARS-CoV-2 in this illustration taken, November 27, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.11.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
The Omicron Strain: What is Known About New COVID-19 'Variant of Concern'
15:54 GMT 28.11.2021
UK Detects Third Omicron COVID Case
The UK Health Security Agency said on Sunday that a third Omicron coronavirus case was recorded in the country. The infected person was linked to travel to South Africa and at the moment of this report, was no longer in the UK.
"It is very likely that we will find more cases over the coming days as we are seeing in other countries globally and as we increase case detection through focused contact tracing", Jenny Harries, chief executive of UKHSA, said in a statement.
15:03 GMT 28.11.2021
Morocco Suspends All Incoming Passenger Flights Over Omicron Coronavirus Variant
14:14 GMT 28.11.2021
Fauci: Omicron COVID Strain ‘Clearly Giving an Indication It Can Spread Rapidly’
12:44 GMT 28.11.2021
Denmark Confirms Two Omicron Strain Cases in Travellers From South Africa
12:22 GMT 28.11.2021
Netherlands Reports 13 Omicron Coronavirus Cases
PARIS (Sputnik) - Thirteen people who arrived in the Netherlands from South Africa tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said on Sunday.
On Friday, two planes from South Africa landed in Schiphol Airport, and passengers were not allowed to leave the airport before they get their PCR-test results.
"On 26 November 2021, 624 passengers returning from South Africa were tested for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 by the GGD Kennemerland. The passengers were tested at Schiphol Airport; 61 of them tested positive for COVID-19. These test samples were sent to RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment for further analysis to determine which variant of the coronavirus was involved. Initial results from genome sequencing showed the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in 13 of the samples from the positive tests," the institute said in a statement.
The new coronavirus strain, however, can be found in more samples, the agency went on, as the testing is not completed yet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new strain, first detected in South Africa, as one of concern, as it is reported to be more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
11:01 GMT 28.11.2021
South Korea Limits Visas, Travel From 8 African Countries Over Omicron Variant, Reports Say
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - South Korea's government restricted on Sunday the issuance of visas and travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe amid the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, Yonhap news agency reported.

Travellers from these countries will have to undergo a 10-day compulsory quarantine at a special facility and will have to conduct three PCR tests.

Multiple countries worldwide have suspended travel from southern Africa amid the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
10:33 GMT 28.11.2021
South Africa Has Fewer Than 100 Omicron Cases
A medical worker stores a swab in a vial at XL Schiphol test location, after Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on flights from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 27, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.11.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
South Africa Has Fewer Than 100 Omicron Cases
09:58 GMT 28.11.2021
Health Minister: Omicron is Likely Already in France, But No Cases Officially Detected Yet
09:17 GMT 28.11.2021
German Police Thwart Illegal COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign
A person receives a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a sports hall in Berlin, Germany, May 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.11.2021
German Police Thwart Illegal COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign
09:02 GMT 28.11.2021
Israel to Host Miss Universe Contest on 12 December Despite New Strain Alert
07:28 GMT 28.11.2021
Maldives Bans Entries From 7 African Nations as Omicron Variant Spreads
07:17 GMT 28.11.2021
Saudi Arabia Suspends Flights to 7 More African Countries
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