Sweden confirms first case of Omicron virus variant

Sweden confirms first case of Omicron virus variant

STOCKHOLM, November 29 (Xinhua) – On Monday, the Swedish Public Health Agency confirmed the country’s first case of the Omicron virus variant.

The case was found when a traveler who returned to Sweden from South Africa last week was tested.

“It was expected that the variant would be found in Sweden, as it has been found in several other European countries as well,” says Karin Tegmark Wisell, the agency’s director general, in a press release.

“Based on the information we have about the variant, we should take it very seriously until we have more knowledge. The measures for travelers from southern Africa have been tightened since Friday and the development is now closely monitored according to recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), says Tegmark Wisell.

In addition to Sweden, eight countries in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) had also reported confirmed cases on Monday, the ECDC said. These were Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.

“All confirmed cases have a history of travel to African countries, with some taking connecting flights to other destinations between Africa and Europe. All cases for which severity information is available were either asymptomatic or mild. No serious cases and no deaths have been reported. reported among these cases so far “, says the EU Health Monitor in a press release.

Omicron, also known as B.1.1.529, was caused by a mutation first discovered in South Africa. It is marked as a “variant of concern” by the WHO, which on Sunday said it was not clear if it was more transferable than the Delta variant despite the number of positive tests reported in South Africa.

Although preliminary data also indicate an increase in hospital stays in South Africa, the WHO said it was not clear whether Omicron causes more serious illnesses, as this may be due to the increasing total number of infections.

At the same time, several countries have introduced restrictions for travelers coming from southern Africa. Sweden is one of them, but Swedish citizens are excluded.

However, the Swedish Public Health Agency recommends that people returning from the area test themselves, followed by a second test five days later. They will also stay at home for seven days after returning home, the authority says in the press release.

The government is also prepared to reintroduce restrictions should the situation worsen, says Lena Hallengren, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, in a tweet.

Source: sn.dk





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