Coronavirus: UAE confirms first case of Omicron variant

Health authorities register first case on Wednesday

Live updates: follow the latest news on Covid-19 variant Omicron

UAE health authorities on Wednesday registered the country's first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said it had been detected in an African woman coming from an African country through an Arab nation, without specifying which.

The woman has been isolated and those who had contact with her were also traced and isolated.

She had not shown any symptoms but her condition was being monitored.

The woman had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The ministry reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated, including the booster shot, to tackle the spread of new variants.

Omicron, described as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organisation, has been found in scores of countries around the world.

Fears about the variant have seen the reintroduction of travel curbs and Covid-19 restrictions.

The UAE suspended the entry of travellers from several countries in response to the variant.

But the WHO on Wednesday said there was no reason to panic about the variant, which was identified by South African researchers and named a variant of concern by the WHO on November 26.

Since then it has been found in 24 countries. The first case of Omicron was also detected in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

“Risk of Covid-19 overall is high,” Dr Abdinasir Abubakar, manager of the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean office's Infectious Hazards Prevention, said on Wednesday.

"Unless we generate enough evidence as to why the Omicron variant is different, there is no reason to panic.

"We have enough tools to limit the spread of this variant."

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Updated: December 2nd 2021, 4:35 AM