Tuesday, January 25

Covid-19. A first suspected case of the Omicron variant detected in Germany: what we know

A suspected case in Germany

A first suspected case of the new Omicron variant was detected in Germany in a person recently returned from South Africa, regional authorities in the state of Hesse (West) announced on Saturday.

Tests carried out on Friday evening on a passenger arriving from South Africa at the airport in Frankfurt, the main airport in the most populous country in the European Union, revealed “several mutations typical of Omicron,” the report said. Regional Minister of Social Affairs, Kai Klose.

“The Omicron variant is in all likelihood already present in Germany,” he said.

The infected person was placed in isolation at his home. The full analysis of the results is still in progress.

Neighboring Czech Republic analyzes case

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Saturday that a local laboratory was researching a sample taken from a woman who had traveled to Namibia and tested positive on her return.

“She flew back to the Czech Republic via South Africa and Dubai,” Babis tweeted. “The woman was vaccinated, she has moderate symptoms and we will have the sequencing result tomorrow.”

Concern in the Netherlands after the arrival of 61 positive plane passengers

In the Netherlands, according to the Dutch health authority (GGD) which is researching the possible presence of Omicron, 61 passengers from two flights arriving in Amsterdam from Johannesburg on Friday have tested positive for Covid-19 and placed in quarantine.

Omicron already detected in other countries

The new variant has already been detected in Europe: in Belgium. It was an unvaccinated person who arrived on November 11 from Egypt via Turkey.

Omicron has also been identified in Israel on a person from Malawi, Botswana and Hong Kong.

There is a “high to very high” risk of the Omicron variant spreading in Europe, the European Union health agency said.

Omicron first reported in South Africa

The new variant was first reported from South Africa on November 24.

It was deemed “worrying” by the WHO on Friday.

It would present an increased risk of contagion compared to other variants including Delta, dominant and already very contagious.

According to epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, a researcher at Harvard University, the two cases of people infected with the Omicron variant in Hong Kong have a very rapidly increasing viral load. The two men, who were still negative a few days before, had a Ct value of 18 and 19. “This is incredibly high, especially considering that both men were still negative in the previous PCR test”, a- he told the Belga news agency. According to the epidemiologist, it seems that the variant can circumvent the protection offered by vaccination.


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