(CNN) – One case of the omicron variant of coronavirus was confirmed in Italy, two cases were confirmed in the UK, and two other cases were reported in Germany.
Italian authorities have identified the first confirmed case of the omicron variant in the country, Italy’s Health Ministry said in a statement released on Saturday. The only case, identified in the southwestern region of Campania, is a passenger who arrived from Mozambique, according to the statement, but without disclosing the passenger’s arrival date or nationality.
That same day, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted that the two cases detected in the country were linked and that there was a connection to travel to southern Africa. “These people isolate themselves in their homes while further testing and contact tracing is done,” he added.
The Health Secretary said that specific tests will be implemented in the affected areas (Nottingham and Chelmsford), as well as the sequencing of all positive cases.
Javid said Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola would be added to the UK travel red list, starting at 4am this Sunday. “If you have returned from there in the last 10 days, you should isolate yourself and do PCR tests,” it said. your tweet.
A country that is on the ‘red list’ means that UK residents, as well as British and Irish nationals arriving home from that red list starting point, must undergo a 10-day hotel quarantine at office.
German authorities also reported that they identified the first two confirmed cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the country. The two cases, identified in Munich, are two passengers who arrived from Cape Town on November 24, the Bavarian Health Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
“The individuals have been in home isolation since November 25 following a positive PCR test. Following the reports of the new variant, the two individuals had the foresight to arrange to be tested for the variant.” authorities said.
Another 50 passengers on this Friday’s flight are in quarantine, and two foreign nationals who are isolated in a hotel have tested positive for COVID-19 since then. “Investigations are underway to determine if they are infected with the omicron variant,” the Ministry said.
Is Ómicron already in the United States?
Appearing on NBC this Saturday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said the omicron variant may already be in the United States, but has yet to be detected.
“I would not be surprised if it is there, we have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that shows this degree of transmissibility and you have travel-related cases, they have already noticed it in other places, when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably goes to happen, ”Fauci told NBC on Saturday.
“The problem with blocking travel from a certain country is simply to give us time to better evaluate it. That is the reason to do that. There is no reason to panic, but we want to give you some time to fill in the blanks of what we don’t know at this point, ”Fauci added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that to date no known cases of omicron have been identified in the United States, and that if the variant emerges, the agency expects the cases to be quickly identified through the system of surveillance of variants of the nation.
While saying “there is no reason to panic,” Fauci cautioned that the new variant must be taken seriously and justifies the recently imposed travel ban against South Africa and seven neighboring countries.
“It appears to have spread rapidly in South Africa, although the numbers are relatively small, its ability to infect people who have recovered from infection and people who have been vaccinated makes us say that this is something to pay a lot of attention to. pay attention and get ready for something that is serious, ”said Fauci.
“It may not turn out that way, but you want to be ahead. That’s why we are doing what we are doing, “he told NBC.
Suspicious cases in other countries
As concern about the new variant of the coronavirus grows, other countries are reporting suspicious cases.
Health authorities in the Czech Republic are investigating a suspected case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in a traveler who recently arrived from Namibia, the Czech National Institute of Public Health said in an emailed statement to CNN on Saturday.
The institute said that a PCR test indicated that the infection could have been caused by the omicron variant, but added that a full sequencing of the sample must be completed to confirm this. He said sequencing work is underway.
Meanwhile, Dutch health authorities said Friday night that 61 people who traveled from South Africa that day tested positive for COVID-19, amid concerns about the spread of the recently discovered omicron variant.
Mia Alberti, Ivana Kottasová, Martin Goillandeau and Keith Allen contributed to this report