Politics Health minister says omicron likely circulating in France
Omicron Variant: Germany, Czech Republic Report Suspected Cases After U.K. Confirmation
Several countries, including the U.S., Japan and Israel, have announced travel restrictions to avoid the mass spread of the latest COVID variant.Germany's Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration said Saturday that an individual who traveled to Germany from South Africa is suspected to be infected with the Omicron variant.
France's health minister said on Sunday that the omicron COVID-19 variant is likely circulating in the nation, given that it has already been detected in several other European countries.
"Once the variant is circulating in England, in Italy, in Belgium, it is probable that there are already cases in circulation here. We will identify them and ... we will slow down its spread as much as possible," Olivier Veran said to journalists at a Paris vaccination center, to Reuters.
Veran noted that there had been no official identification yet, but that "it's a matter of hours."
The Latest: Local transmission of virus variant in Scotland
LONDON -- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there is evidence of local transmission of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus after the country reported its first six cases. She told a news conference that not all the cases in Scotland had links to recent travel, adding that this suggests “there might already be some community transmission of this variant in Scotland.” The new cases takes the U.K.’s total to nine after three cases were identified in England over the weekend.The arrival of the variant on British shores prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to tighten restrictions on mask-wearing and testing of international arrivals to England.
Agence France-Presse reported that the ministry recommended that health professionals and others isolate people, regardless of their vaccination status, if they are suspected of or had a confirmed case of the omicron variant, Reuters noted.
The new guidance comes as France is already seeing a surge of new COVID-19 cases. On Friday, more than 33,000 new cases were reported and over 32,000 were recorded the day prior, per Cases were in the thousands in October and the beginning of November in France, comparatively.from the World Health Organization.
Countries are now rushing to change travel restrictions and determining possible new health guidance in light of a newly detected variant, which WHO last week called a "variant of concern."
Since it was first detected in South Africa, countries like the United Kingdom and United States have instituted border restrictions to a handful of countries in southern Africa while Israel has completely closed its borders to all foreign travelers.
However, some health officials have blasted countries for instituting those travel restrictions so quickly as scientists are still learning more about the omicron variant.
These are the states where the omicron variant has been identified .
The new omicron coronavirus variant has been found in 12 U.S. states just three days days after the first case in the country was announced. The new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world. One day after Thanksgiving, the Wold Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting on the variant, which it has determined is a "variant ofThe new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world.