Omicron variant: Spain, Sweden detect first cases – both travellers from SA

Spain has detected its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a 51-year-old man who arrived from South Africa on Sunday after a layover in Amsterdam, Madrid’s regional health authorities said on Monday.

The microbiology unit at Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon hospital, which sequenced and confirmed the new variant, added in a separate tweet that the patient was in fair condition with light symptoms.

The latest outbreak, first reported in southern Africa, has caused a global flurry of border restrictions and flight route suspensions over the weekend amid fears of a return to uncontrolled contagion.

The heavily mutated Omicron variant is likely to spread internationally and poses a very high risk of infection surges that could have “severe consequences” in some places, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.

Meanwhile, one case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in Sweden, the Public Health Agency said on Monday.The case was detected in a test taken a little over a week ago from a person who had travelled from South Africa, the agency said in a statement.

– Additional reporting by AFP

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