The new Covid variant has sparked panic since it was first detected in South Africa. Countries have reintroduced travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of the disease – though, as pressures are beginning to take over the world.
United States of America
Wednesday saw the United States report the country’s first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in California, after a traveler, who had been fully vaccinated, returned from South Africa on November 22. The state decided to require a negative test within one day of travel for all arrivals, whether or not they have been vaccinated.
Local officials have detected three cases of Omicron, one on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, and two more on mainland France. In all cases, individuals have recently traveled through Africa.
Thursday saw India announce its first confirmed case of the strain in the country after two men in Karnataka state tested positive for the virus after returning from abroad. They have been placed under surveillance by government officials and all of their primary and secondary contacts are traced and tested.
The Scandinavian country has confirmed several infections with the Covid mutation, although one of those infected attended a concert attended by about 2,000 people before testing positive. While no national policy has been introduced yet, Denmark has closed a school that had a suspected case over fears it could lead to a wider outbreak.
Two people tested positive in Oegaarden municipality on the west coast of Omicron on Wednesday, marking the first cases of infection in Norway, as the region suffered a spike in infections that has tightened local restrictions. Even more worrying for officials, the country is currently investigating a large batch of at least 50 cases linked to the Christmas party.
After reimposing Covid restrictions, including mask mandates, the UK’s Health Security Agency confirmed that, across England and Scotland, 32 cases of the new variant were detected, while Northern Ireland and Wales recorded no new infections with the mutated strain.
Health authorities have recorded nine confirmed cases of the Omicron strain, with eight infections in New South Wales and one in the Northern Territory. Officials put the country on alert, fearing more cases after an infected individual visited a crowded mall before his infection became apparent.
The number of countries reporting the Omicron variant is growing, with Finland and Singapore on Thursday confirming the existence of the new strain, while Romania also fears it may already have one. This type of Covid concerns medics because it can present a vaccine challenge. However, the World Health Organization insists that there is still no scientific evidence about how severe the symptoms of infection are compared to other variants of Covid.