As Panic Spreads Over New Covid-19 Variant, A Look at All Countries That Have Detected Omicron Cases

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The discovery of new Covid-19 variant Omicron, which has over 50 spike mutations, has left the global leaders and scientists worried. Experts have warned that the new variant has a combination of mutations that can possibly cause the virus to evade immunity.

The new coronavirus variant spread around the world on Monday, with new cases found in several countries even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off. Here’s a look at the countries where Omicron has been detected thus far:

Botswana: Botswana, the only African country outside South Africa to have reported Omicron cases, said Sunday it had detected 19 infections of the new Covid variant, including the first four declared last week. “As of today we have recorded a total of 19 cases of the variant,” Health Minister Edwin Dikoloti said at a press conference in the capital Gaborone. The southern African country had on Friday declared that the highly-mutated variant was detected on four foreign nationals who entered Botswana on November 7 on a diplomatic mission. The announcement was made one day after South African scientists identified the variant, triggering a rush of travel bans on flights from the region. The country of 2.4 million has reported around 194,900 coronavirus cases and 2,416 deaths since the pandemic began.

Australia: The country has so far detected five cases of the Omicron variant. On Monday it abruptly halted plans to reopen its international borders to skilled workers and students, an eleventh-hour decision prompted by concerns over the new variant. After an emergency security meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the much-heralded December 1 reopening will be delayed at least two weeks. Australia’s borders have been closed to most non-citizens for more than 20 months, causing labour shortages and pummelling the vital tourist industry. Morrison described the delay as “a necessary and temporary decision” based on medical advice. He cited new concerns about “the efficacy of the vaccine, the range of illness, including if it may generate more mild symptoms, and the level of transmission.”

Austria: The first case of the new Omicron coronavirus variant was identified in the country on Monday, the health ministry of the province of Tyrol said. Austria has been on lockdown as it struggles with the fourth wave of the coronavirus.

Israel: Israel on Sunday decided to close its borders to foreign tourists and re-authorise a controversial cellphone tracking programme in a bid to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Israeli citizens will be required to present a negative PCR test and quarantine themselves for three days if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus and seven days if they have not. It was only four weeks ago that Israel reopened its borders to foreign tourists after a prolonged closure due to Covid. The health ministry said the new strain that was first detected by South Africa was discovered in a person who had arrived from Malawi.

Czech Republic: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has said the woman visited Namibia and flew back to the Czech Republic via South Africa and Dubai. The woman, Babis said, was vaccinated and had mild symptoms of the disease. Ricar said the sample would now be analysed by the national reference laboratory. “But the result is already very precise,” Ricar said. The spokesperson of a regional hospital in the northern Czech city of Liberec confirmed the new omicron strain in a woman. “My colleagues from the department of genetics and molecular diagnostics confirmed the strain with 90-per cent probability after a sequence analysis,” Vaclav Ricar told Czech Television Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Britain: Britain’s Department of Health said the two cases found in the U.K. were linked and involved travel from southern Africa. One of the two new cases was in the southeastern English town of Brentwood, while the other was in the central city of Nottingham. The two confirmed cases are self-isolating with their households while contact tracing and targeted testing takes place. The British government also added four more countries — Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia — onto the country’s travel red list from Sunday. Six others — Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe — were added Friday. That means anyone permitted to arrive from those destinations will have to quarantine.

Germany: The new variant was confirmed in two travellers who arrived in Germany on a flight from South Africa on November 24, Munich-based microbiology centre, the Max von Pettenkofer Institute, said. Oliver Keppler, the institute’s head, said that genome sequencing has yet to be completed, but it is “proven without doubt that it is this variant,” German news agency dpa reported.

Italy: An Italian who travelled to Mozambique has tested positive for the omicron variant. The business traveller landed in Rome on November 11 and returned to his home near Naples. Five family members, including two children, have also tested positive. All are isolating in the Naples suburb of Caserta in good condition with light symptoms.

Denmark: The Omicron coronavirus variant spread around the world on Sunday, with new cases found in Denmark even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.

Netherlands: Dutch health authorities said on Sunday they had discovered at least 13 cases of the new Omicron strain among passengers on two flights from South Africa. The infections were found after 61 out of 600 travellers on the two KLM planes tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Friday. The infections were found after 61 out of 600 travellers on the two KLM planes tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Friday.

Hong Kong: Three cases of Covid-19 caused by the omicron variant have been detected in Hong Kong. The authorities, however, said that it won’t affect the city’s reopening plans with mainland China.

Portugal: Portuguese health authorities on Monday identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant spreading fast globally, among members of a top soccer club and were investigating whether it was one of the first reported cases of local transmission of the virus outside of southern Africa.

Scotland: Scotland reported six cases of Omicron on Monday, some of which were not linked to travel in southern Africa, raising concerns that the new coronavirus variant is already spreading in the community. Britain earlier announced three cases of the variant, which the World Health Organization said on Monday was likely to spread internationally, posing a “very high” global risk of infection surges.

Canada: Canada said Sunday it has detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid, in two people who had traveled recently to Nigeria. Both patients are in isolation while public health authorities trace their possible contacts, said federal and Ontario provincial officials. The government of Ontario confirmed that the two cases are in the capital Ottawa.

Belgium: Belgium also tightened its rules on mask-wearing and on testing of international passengers after finding new cases on Saturday.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also shared the list of countries, that have been identified as Countries at-risk, from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing.

1. Countries in Europe including The United Kingdom

2. South Africa

3. Brazil

4. Bangladesh

5. Botswana

6. China

7. Mauritius

8. New Zealand

9. Zimbabwe

10. Singapore

11. Hong Kong

12. Israel

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