UK, Germany and Italy detect Omicron coronavirus variant cases
Britain, Germany and Italy detected cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new steps to contain the virus, while more nations imposed restrictions on travel from southern Africa, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The discovery of the variant has sparked global concern, a wave of travel bans or curbs and a sell-off on financial markets on Friday as investors worried that Omicron could stall a global recovery from the nearly two-year pandemic.
The two linked cases of the new variant detected in Britain were connected to travel to southern Africa, British health minister Sajid Javid said.
Speaking later, Johnson laid out measures that included stricter testing rules for people arriving in the country but that stopped short of curbs on social activity other than requiring mask wearing in some settings.
"We will require anyone who enters the UK to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result," Johnson told a news conference.
People who had come into contact with people testing positive for a suspected case of Omicron would have to self-isolate for 10 days and the government would tighten up the rules on wearing face coverings, Johnson said, adding the steps would be reviewed in three weeks.
The health ministry in the German state of Bavaria also announced two confirmed cases of the variant. The two people entered Germany at Munich airport on Nov. 24, before Germany designated South Africa as a virus-variant area, and were now isolating, said the ministry, indicating without stating explicitly that the people had travelled from South Africa.
In Italy, the National Health Institute said a case of the new variant had been detected in Milan in a person coming from Mozambique.