August 8, 2022
New COVID-19 variant (Omicron) in the UK

New COVID-19 variant (Omicron) in the UK

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On Saturday, Britain confirmed its first two cases of the new COVID-19 variant called Omicron, these cases were both linked to travel from southern Africa and thus, expanded travel restrictions on the region.

“After overnight genome sequencing, the UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that two cases of Covid-19 with mutations consistent with B.1.1.529 (Omicron) have been identified in the UK, the two cases are linked and there is a link to travel from southern Africa,” an official statement read. “One case was detected in the central English city of Nottingham and the other in Chelmsford east of London”.

“We have moved rapidly and the individuals are self-isolating while contact tracing is ongoing,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

He added that the government was placing another four African countries on its travel “red list” — Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia & Angola — effective from 4:00 am (0400 GMT) on Sunday.

Britain has already stated that it is banning travel from six southern African nations because of the emergence of the new strain (Omicron) namely ; South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe & Botswana.

Recall that the government was widely criticised for its travel & isolation policy earlier in the pandemic, when it kept borders open to foreign travelers even as infection rate rose.

Javid reminded the public that these occurrences show that we are not yet out of the pandemic and he to this effect, urged the public to get follow-up booster jabs. In addition Javid affirmed “We will not hesitate to take further action if required”.

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