UK government on Saturday statedthat the first two carriers of the Omicron coronavirus strain were identified in the country, which the day before was included by the World Health Organization as one of the strains of concern.
A few days ago, specialists in the Republic of South Africa identified a new mutation of the coronavirus. The strain is rapidly spreading across South Africa and other countries in southern Africa. Only about 100 cases of infection with it have been formally confirmed, but experts are convinced that in reality these cases are an order of magnitude greater.
Both infected with the new strain recently flew to the UK from South Africa.
The day before, the first case of Omicron infection was confirmed on the territory of the EU – in Belgium, and the infected one came not from southern Africa, but from Egypt.
Possible cases of infection with “Omicron” on Saturday were also recorded in Germany and the Czech Republic. Earlier, in addition to southern Africa, the new strain was also found in Hong Kong and Israel. A number of countries around the world, amid reports of a new strain, have restricted or canceled air traffic with South Africa and neighboring countries, or introduced mandatory quarantine for those arriving from there. Russia from November 28 due to a new strain of coronavirus will restrict the entry of foreigners from Hong Kong and several countries in southern Africa, and Russian citizens entering from these countries will have to be tested for coronavirus.
According to virologists, the new strain has numerous mutations that may be more infectious than the strains discovered so far. The first observations of the dynamics of the epidemic in South Africa confirm this conclusion. However, according to a number of experts, it is still premature to say that the new strain leads to a more severe course of the disease or is able to bypass the protection that existing vaccines create. Representatives of vaccine manufacturing companies said they are studying a new strain and, if necessary, will be able to develop and introduce new versions of the drugs in a short time.
Now in most countries of the world the strain “Delta”, originally found in India, dominates. It was also more infectious than the strains discovered before it, however, judging by the data from most countries, no more lethal than them. According to preliminary estimates, Omicron is now rapidly replacing Delta in South Africa.