The Omicron coronavirus variant poses a high risk of global infection surges, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
Following is a selected country-by-country snapshot of confirmed Omicron cases.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) said on Twitter that the variant was detected in an African woman who came from an unspecified African country.
She was passing through an Arab country and had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, as per the approved national protocol.
The woman has been isolated and her condition is being monitored, as she did not show any symptoms, Mohap said. Those who were in contact with her have also been isolated.
South Korea reported its first five cases of the Omicron variant on Wednesday, officials said.
A fully vaccinated couple tested positive for the variant after arriving last week from Nigeria, followed by two of their family members and a friend, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant coming from a north African country, the state news agency said on December 1.
Nigeria confirmed its first cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant among two travellers who arrived from South Africa last week, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on December 1.
The NCDC also said retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria had identified the variant among a sample collected in October. It did not give details.
Denmark has registered a total of four cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, its infectious disease authority said on November 30, adding that all of them were connected to "travel activity" in South Africa.
Denmark said on Sunday it had registered its first two cases of the variant.
Japan has confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Kyodo news agency reported on November 30, citing unidentified government sources.
Japan shut its borders to foreigners on Tuesday for at least a month, among the strictest measures in the world to halt entry of Omicron, recently discovered in southern Africa and declared a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation.
Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto said on Monday that a traveller from Namibia had tested positive for the coronavirus at the airport, and that further tests were needed to find out if it was from the new variant.
Spain detected its first case of the Omricon variant on November 29 in a 51-year-old man who flew from South Africa via the Netherlands.
A second case was confirmed in Madrid in a 61-year-old woman who returned to Spain from South Africa via Amsterdam on a different flight.
A regional health department spokesperson said she had received two shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine and had no symptoms.
A total of 14 cases of the new Covid-19 variant was reported among passengers from South Africa by Dutch health authorities as on November 29.
“With the help of sequencing, it has now been confirmed in 14 people that it is the Omicron variant,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a letter to parliament.
They were among 61 passengers who tested positive for Covid-19 on two flights from South Africa, and who are being kept in isolation at a hotel near the airport.
Portugal on November 29 detected 13 cases of the Omicron variant — all related to players and staff members of Lisbon soccer team Belenenses, health authority DGS said.
The new variant was found after Belenenses played a Primeira Liga match against Benfica on Saturday.
The presidents of Benfica and Belenenses told a news conference on Saturday they had no choice but to play the match or risked being punished for an "unjustified absence". They blamed the league and DGS for not allowing the game to be postponed.
Scotland reported six cases of Omicron on November 29, some of which were not linked to travel in southern Africa.
Britain as a whole has reported nine cases of the new variant, which the World Health Organization said on Monday was likely to spread internationally.
“On some of the cases involved, we are satisfied that there is no travel history or travel connection with southern Africa,” Scotland’s deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC radio.
“So that means that it is likely that... Omicron... is circulating within the community.”
Austria has identified a first case of Omicron, the health ministry of the province of Tyrol said on November 29.
Australia said on November 28 that two people arriving from southern Africa over the weekend had tested positive for the Omicron variant.
Two cases of Omicron were detected in the southern state of Bavaria and a suspected case was found in the west of the country, health officials said on November 27.
The National Health Institute on November 27 said a case of the new variant had been detected in Milan in a person coming from Mozambique.
The regional hospital in the northern Czech city of Liberec confirmed the new Omicron strain of Covid-19 in a female patient, its spokesman Vaclav Ricar told Czech Television on November 27.
On November 26, Belgium detected the first case of the new coronavirus variant.
Marc Van Ranst, whose laboratory works closely with Belgium's public health body Sciensano, said on Twitter that the variant was found in a traveller returning to Belgium from Egypt on November 11.
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