Tokyo – The United States is a vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa on Wednesday with a new variant version of the coronavirus earlier.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert in the United States, made a presentation at the White House.
“We knew that it was only a matter of time before the first case of Omicron was detected in the United States,” he said.
The infected person was identified as a traveler returning from South Africa on 22 November, with mild symptoms and a positive result on Monday. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco took samples from patients on Tuesday night and worked hard overnight to sequence the genes.
California officials said they had been vaccinated twice with Modana shots, but those who had not been vaccinated for enough time to receive booster shots have improved and agreed to continue quarantine.
According to people familiar with the matter, all close relationships between individuals have been achieved and the test was negative. Patients were only identified between the ages of 18 and 49.
At least 23 countries have reported Omicron infections since South African authorities first identified the variant a week ago. With this announcement, the United States and many other countries have almost immediately banned airline travelers arriving from South Africa.
However, the variant is still surrounded by many unknowns. Are some of them more contagious than the other versions? Some scientists are becoming suspicious. Does it make people more seriously ill? And can it avoid the vaccine?
“I think it’s premature to say what happens and what doesn’t happen with this variant,” Fauci said.
He and other medical professionals strongly emphasized that Americans should continue to follow public health advice in order to be vaccinated and obtain booster shots.
“If you look at what we recommend, they are exactly the same,” Fauci said.
Genome sequencing of the patient’s virus from UCSF was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This scenario can be run multiple times across the country in the coming days or weeks,” said Scott Becker, CEO of the Institute for Public Health.
“This particular case shows that the system is working as designed to work. Individuals with a history of travel from South Africa, sensitive laboratories, quick specimens for sequences. Prioritization and close coordination with public health authorities. “
Nigeria and Saudi Arabia also reported Omicron infections on Wednesday, recording the first known cases in West Africa and the Persian Gulf region.
It is clear that it was prevalent in Europe a few days before South Africa issued the alert, but it is not known exactly where and when the variant first appeared.
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it would take a couple of weeks for Omicron to fully understand what the world could do.
“This is usually a short period of time. In a pandemic era, it’s eternal,” she lamented.
At the same time, Omicron variants are spreading new fears and uncertainties, but many countries, especially in Europe, are coping with infectious diseases and surges in hospitalization and are considering mandating vaccination. In some countries.
Japan is trying to contain the virus more than many other countries, banning foreign tourists and urging international airlines to stop new bookings for all flights arriving in the country by the end of December.
The United States is working to require all domestic air travelers to be tested for COVID-19 from the current three days within one day prior to boarding the flight.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization warned that a total travel ban would complicate the sharing of laboratory samples from South Africa that might help scientists understand the new variant.
World leaders continued to emphasize that vaccination remains the best way to contain a pandemic.
For the first time, Von der Leyen said EU countries should consider mandating vaccination. This is because it is done in some particular sectors, or throughout Austria. Overall, 67% of the EU’s population is vaccinated, but a relatively high percentage does not prevent some countries from proliferating.
Greece will impose a fine of € 100 ($ 113) per month on unvaccinated people over the age of 60. Slovakia is considering giving 500 euros ($ 565) to that age group if they move forward for a shot. Meanwhile, Olaf Scholz, who was appointed Chancellor of Germany, said he supported the proposal to require vaccinations for all.
This story has been modified to say that Nigeria discovered a variant of Omicron in the November sample instead of October.
AP writer Michael Balsamo and AP journalists around the world contributed to this report.
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US reports first case of Omicron variant in returnees
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