Omicron-typical mutations were found in a traveller, says German minister

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 27, 2021, 05:48 PM(IST)

Germany recorded 67,125 new coronavirus cases on Saturday Photograph:( AFP )

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Germany’s social affairs minister said that a traveller from South Africa was detected with mutations resembling Omicron variant. Germany is the second EU country after Belgium to report B.1.1.529 variant 

After Belgium, Germany on Saturday said it has discovered a new positive case resembling Omicron variant.

Germany’s social affairs minister said that a traveller from South Africa was detected with similar mutations.

“Last night several Omicron-typical mutations were found in a traveller returning from South Africa," tweeted Kai Klose, social affairs minister in the western German state that is home to Frankfurt airport.

He added that a full sequencing of the variant was being carried out and that the person was isolating, and he urged anyone who had travelled from South Africa in the last few weeks to limit contacts and get tested.

This comes at a time when Germany is already witnessing the fourth wave of COVID-19, as it recorded 67,125 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. 

Also read | Passengers arriving from South Africa at Amsterdam airport test positive for COVID-19

Germany had declared South Africa a virus-variant area, meaning airlines are allowed to fly only Germans to Germany from South Africa, a source told Reuters on Friday. Even those who are vaccinated must spend 14 days in quarantine.

Germany is the second EU country after Belgium to report Omicron variant cases.

Belgium on Friday said that it has detected a confirmed case of the B.1.1.529 variant.

Also read |  WHO warns against travel curbs due to new variant, says 'closely monitoring'

"We have a case that is now confirmed of this variant," he said on Friday. "This is someone who came from abroad, who tested positive on November 22, who was not vaccinated."

Several European countries including France, Germany and Italy, have already imposed new travel restrictions with South Africa and neighbouring countries that include a 14-day quarantine period for travellers whether they are vaccinated or not.

The European Commission has recommended all EU countries follow suit with President Ursula von der Leyen writing in a statement on Friday that "all air travel to these countries should be suspended."

Apart from South Africa, Omicron has been detected in Israel, Botswana, Hong Kong and Belgium.

The B.1.1.529 variant has been declared as a ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO.

It had a large number of mutations, and early evidence suggested an increased reinfection risk, the global health body said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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