(NewsNation Now) — Just days after it was identified by researchers in South Africa, confirmed or suspected cases of the new ommicron variant have been reported in several countries.
Here’s an updated list of where cases have been detected so far:
Australia on Sunday became the last country to detect the ommicron variant of the coronavirus in travelers arriving from southern Africa.
Authorities in Australia said two foreign travelers who arrived in Sydney from Africa were the first in the country to test positive for the variant. Arrivals from nine African countries now have to be quarantined in a hotel on arrival.
The Netherlands: The Dutch public health authority confirmed on Sunday that 13 people who arrived in the Netherlands on flights from South Africa on Friday have so far tested positive for the variant.
The 61 people who tested positive for the virus on Friday after arriving on the last two flights to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport before a no-fly zone were immediately placed in isolation while sequencing was performed to determine if they could detect the new variant. had.
Britain: The UK Department of Health said the two cases found in the UK were linked to travel from southern Africa. One of the two new cases was in the southeastern English city of Brentwood, while the other was in the central city of Nottingham. The two confirmed cases are in self-isolation with their households while contact tracing and targeted testing are underway.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday he expected to receive advice soon on whether the government could broaden a program to provide booster shots to fully vaccinated people, to try and mitigate the impact of the variant.
The German state of Bavaria reported a total of three cases in returning travelers over the weekend.
In Italy, the National Health Institute said a case of the new variant had been discovered in Milan in a person from Mozambique.
Israel: On Saturday, Israel said it had discovered the new tribe in a traveler who had returned from Malawi and was investigating seven other suspected cases. The seven people were three vaccinated individuals and all were placed in isolation.
Israel on Sunday approved the blocking of entry to foreigners and the use of controversial contact-tracing technology as part of its efforts to counter a new strain of coronavirus.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that tightening Israel’s borders will help keep the country open internally.
Hong-Kong: David Hui, a respiratory medicine expert and government adviser on the Hong Kong pandemic, said the two people who tested positive for the omicron variant had received the BioNTech-Pfizer injection and showed very mild symptoms, such as a sore throat.
He said that while it is not clear whether current coronavirus vaccines are effective against the new variant, the city’s vaccination coverage should be increased and booster doses implemented as soon as possible.
“Vaccines should work, but the effectiveness would decrease somewhat,” he said.
The ommicron variant has also been found in Belgium, Denmark and Botswana.
South Africa: South African scientists last week identified a new version of the coronavirus that they believe is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.
It’s unclear where the new variant first emerged, but scientists in South Africa first alerted the World Health Organization and it has now been dispersed as travelers take it across the border.
Health Secretary Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential increase” in cases in recent days, although experts are still trying to determine whether the new variant is actually responsible.
Many countries have or are planning to restrict travel from southern Africa. The South African government on Saturday denounced this as unfair and potentially damaging to its economy – saying it is being punished for its scientific ability to identify coronavirus variants early.
The Associated Press, Reuters contributed to this report.