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Omicron Covid variant discovered in west Africa and the Gulf | Coronavirus

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been recognized in west Africa and the Gulf, as the US stated it was additional tightening its border controls.

Washington’s announcement was made as extra nations reported their first instances of the variant, suggesting it’s spreading round the globe.

With Ghana, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia and South Korea amongst the newest states to report instances, Omicron has been recognized in 24 nations.

Dozens of nations have imposed stricter journey guidelines, and the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) stated on Wednesday it was requiring all air travellers getting into the nation to indicate a damaging Covid-19 take a look at carried out inside in the future of departure.

Fifty-six nations have been reportedly implementing journey measures to protect towards Omicron regardless of warnings by the World Well being Group that “introducing blunt, blanket measures … will solely worsen inequities”.

Nonetheless, a report on Wednesday suggesting that retrospective evaluation in Nigeria had discovered proof of Omicron as early as October – elevating fears it had been circulating weeks sooner than first thought – proved to be incorrect.

In reality, the genetic sequence recognized in October was for the prevalent Delta variant of the virus, Nigerian well being authorities stated.

Why Omicron is the most worrying Covid variant yet – video explainer
Why Omicron is the most worrying Covid variant but – video explainer

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia grew to become the first Gulf state to determine an Omicron case on Wednesday. Authorities in Riyadh stated the variant had been recognized in a traveller arriving from a north African nation with out naming it.

In Asia, South Korea confirmed its first instances, and Japan requested worldwide airways to cease taking new reservations for all flights arriving in the nation till the finish of December in an additional tightening of already strict border controls. The transportation ministry stated the request was an emergency precaution.

The transfer by the world’s third-largest economic system, coupled with its latest return to a ban on international guests, is amongst the most stringent wherever, and extra in line with its cloistered neighbour China than with another democracies in the area.

This week the World Well being Group urged nations to keep away from blanket journey bans.

Japan has confirmed a second case of the Omicron variant in an individual who arrived from Peru, in the future after it reported its first case in a Namibian diplomat.

Scientists are working frantically to find out how threatening Omicron is. A lot stays unknown about the new variant, which has been recognized in greater than 20 nations, together with whether or not it’s extra contagious, whether or not it makes individuals extra significantly sick, and whether or not it will possibly thwart the vaccine.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the high US infectious illness knowledgeable, stated extra could be recognized about the variant in two to 4 weeks as scientists develop and take a look at lab samples of the virus.

A earlier article with the headline “Omicron variant was in Nigeria weeks earlier than South Africa raised alarm” was faraway from the on-line archive on 1 December 2021 because it was primarily based on incorrect info reported by a information company. The URL of that web page has been redirected to this text, which was launched in its place.

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