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Czech Republic testing woman who landed from Namibia via South Africa & Dubai for omicron

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 27-11-2021 Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times,New Delhi
A person queues to be tested for Covid-19 in Johannesburg, South Africa, on November 26, 2021. (For representation purpose) (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) © Provided by Hindustan Times A person queues to be tested for Covid-19 in Johannesburg, South Africa, on November 26, 2021. (For representation purpose) (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

The sample of a woman, who was in Namibia and arrived in Czech Republic via South Africa and Dubai, is being tested at the European country’s central laboratory for the new Covid-19 variant omicron, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Saturday.

Taking to his Twitter account, Babis cleared media speculation that the woman also travelled to Egypt. “The woman who was tested for the new omicron coronavirus strain, had been to Namibia, and returned to the Czech Republic through the South African Republic and Dubai. We are waiting for her test results. She is in isolation now, and all her contacts are being checked,” he tweeted in Czech.

The Prime Minister also informed that the woman is vaccinated against Covid-19 and is deemed as normal. “The result of the sequencing test will [arrive] tomorrow,” Babis wrote in another tweet.

The global sphere was taken by storm after the discovery of omicron, with several countries, including the US, UK, Thailand, Japan, Russia, Brazil, and the nations in the European Union (EU) imposing travel curbs on passengers arriving from southern African countries, including Namibia and South Africa.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Friday urged its member states – as many as 27 nations, to impose “emergency brake to stop air travel” in order to tackle the new Covid-19 variant. Cases of the omicron Covid-19 variant have already been reported in Belgium, the UK, Hong Kong and Israel.

Meanwhile, in a statement German authorities said that the country is awaiting complete sequencing result of a woman who is suspected to be infected with omicron Covid-19 variant. German social affairs minister Kai Klose tweeted that several mutations typical of the new coronavirus variant were found in the woman, who returned from South Africa on Friday.

“The person…was fully vaccinated. She had developed symptoms during the week and then had herself tested. After that, she was isolated at home…The result of the complete sequencing…is expected in the next few days,” the statement by German authorities read, adding that at the time of the woman’s arrival, South Africa was not categorised as a “high-risk or virus variant” region in Germany.

Also Read | ‘Unjustified, counterproductive’: South Africa’s health minister reacts to travel ban over omicron Covid-19 variant

Germany is now permitting airlines to solely transport German citizens, and travellers need to mandatorily be under quarantine for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status, health minister Jens Spahn said.

Panic remains in the Netherlands as well after a total of 61 returnees on two flights from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19. The sequencing results of these people to confirm if they are infected with omicron variant are yet to arrive.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified omicron as a ‘variant of concern’ with the UN health agency’s Southeast Asia director Poonam Khetrapal Singh urging the regional nations to strengthen surveillance and sequencing, and enhance vaccination coverage, among other measures.

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