International travelers to England must self-isolate until they test negative for COVID-19 after 2 cases of Omicron variant identified
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter travel restrictions for travelers entering England after the country detected cases of the Omicron variant.International travelers must take a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they get a negative result, ABC News reported. Face masks will also be required on public transportation and in stores.
The new omicron coronavirus variant has been found in 12 U.S. states just three days days after the first case in the country was announced. © Getty These are the states where the omicron variant has been identified
The new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world. One day after Thanksgiving, the Wold Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting on the variant, which it has determined is a "variant of concern."
Omicron earned the WHO classification due to the its large number of mutations and an increased risk of re-infection, according to evidence from the health body's research.
UK set to expand COVID vaccine boosters amid omicron fears
LONDON (AP) — The independent body advising the British government on the rollout of coronavirus vaccines will likely decide Monday whether to expand the booster program to younger age groups following the discovery of the new omicron variant. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, or JCVI, has been asked by the British government to consider the merits of expanding the booster program to millions more people under the age of 40 and cutting the time period to a third jab.
Following the news of the new variant, world leaders, including President Biden, instated travel bans from southern African countries in an attempt to stop the spread.
Scientists are still unsure of how transmissible the variant is, if it renders the coronavirus vaccines ineffective and if it is more deadly than previous strains.
But despite these mitigation efforts 12 states have reported cases of the new strain since Wednesday, some among patients that have not traveled internationally in recent weeks. More cases likely to be announced in other states soon.
Here are the states where the omicron variant has been detected so far:
California was the first state to report a case of the omicron in the U.S. on Wednesday.
Biden addresses nation on omicron variant as some travel bans to US take effect
With the omicron variant prompting new travel restrictions this week, President Joe Biden will address the nation on Monday in remarks about the new COVID-19 variant. "While we have said that travel restrictions can slow the speed of omicron, it cannot prevent it. Here's what it does: It gives us time," Biden said in remarks from the White House. "It gives us time to take more actions. To move quicker, to make sure people understand you have to get the vaccine. You have to get the shot. You have to get the booster.
Officials said the first omicron case in California came from a fully vaccinated San Francisco resident.
The person had mild symptoms after traveling back from South Africa on Nov. 22.
All the close who came in contact with the individual tested negative for the virus.
An omicron case was detected in the U.S. on Thursday, making it the third case in the nation reported this week. The patient was a woman from a woman from Arapahoe County.
She had recently traveled back from a vacation in Southern Africa when she tested positive.
The person was fully vaccinated and only experienced minor symptoms from the variant.
One woman became the first omicron case for New Jersey and Georgia while she was traveling back to the country from South Africa.
The fully vaccinated Georgia resident tested positive on Nov. 28 and is currently in an emergency room in New Jersey recovering from moderate symptoms, New Jersey officials said.
How serious is omicron? It will take weeks to understand new COVID-19 variant, experts say.
The new omicron variant presents more questions (and uncertainty) than answers. And it will take a few weeks for data to be collected and tracked.The answer to all three is an unsatisfying “We don’t know yet.
Georgia officials said the resident was in Georgia for two days on her trip back from South Africa before going to New Jersey, according to WSB-TV.
Hawaii reported its first omicron case on Thursday from a resident that was unvaccinated.
The state's health department said the person did not have a recent travel history, meaning it was contracted through community spread - a fact that suggest there are more cases of omicron in Hawaii.
The person already contracted the coronavirus in previous months and is experiencing moderate symptoms from the variant.
The case was detected on the island of O'ahu.
Maryland announced three omicron cases on Friday from residents in the Baltimore area.
Two of the positive cases are among members of the same household. One vaccinated family member recently traveled to South Africa while the other member does not have a recent travel history and is unvaccinated.
The third resident is not related to the other patients, and has no notable travel history.
Missouri announced its first omicron case Friday from a St. Louis City resident.
Hard-Hit Brazil Sees First Cases of Omicron Variant, Pair of Travelers From South Africa
The travelers arrived in Brazil on Nov. 23 and took a PCR test before they planned to return to South Africa two days later, the secretariat statement said.These are the first confirmed cases of the omicron variant in Latin America, in a country with over 600,000 deaths related to COVID reported, a figure that analysts think is below the actual number.
The presumed omicron case still needs to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but officials said the woman has a recent domestic travel history.
State officials did not say if the woman was vaccinated against the virus.
Minnesota was the second state to confirm the omicron variant in the U.S. on Thursday.
The variant was found in a person who recently traveled from New York City and is vaccinated.
The man developed mild symptoms from the variant that have since cleared.
However, there are concerns about his infection after it was revealed that the man attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention in the days before his symptoms of the virus appeared. Tens of thousands of people attended the convention.
After the news broke about the Minnesota man's diagnosis, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) urged all 53,000 attendees at the event to get tested.
Nebraska announced six omicron cases on Friday, with the outbreak occurring through household contact.
The first case was likely among a person who returned from Nigeria on Nov. 23, and began experiencing symptoms on Nov. 24.
Who Discovered the Highly Mutated Omicron Variant, Now Found in More Than a Dozen Countries?
The scientific community has praised the efforts of scientists from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong for their early detection of the variant of concern.In a press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the U.S. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said cases had been confirmed in at least 20 countries and "you're going to expect to see those numbers change rapidly.
None of the residents have had to go to the hospital, with only one of the six people vaccinated against the virus.
Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced five omicron cases on Thursday, becoming the fourth state to find the new variant.
Four cases were found in New York City, with two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and one other in an unknown borough. The fifth positive case was in Suffolk County.
The Suffolk County case appeared in a 67-year-old woman who is at least partially vaccinated, with officials unsure if she completed the vaccination series. The woman recently traveled to South Africa.
The resident from the unknown borough traveled from South Africa and tested negative for the coronavirus on Nov. 25, but a second test on Nov. 30 revealed a positive result.
Hochul said the resident in the unknown borough is a "suspected traveler case." It is unclear the vaccination status of all the effected residents in New York City.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Pennsylvania's first omicron case on Friday.
The department said the case is in a man in his 30s from Northwest Philadelphia who has reported mild symptoms.
It is not clear if the man was vaccinated, and the department did not detail his recent travel history.
Utah confirmed its first omicron case on Friday in an older adult who lives within the Southwest Utah Public Health District.
The person recently traveled from South Africa and is experiencing mild symptoms.
The resident is fully vaccinated and had a monoclonal antibody treatment. The state's health department has already determined the person's close contacts.
Can Anything Stop the Omicron Wave? .
At this point, America has limited options.And here comes Omicron. The variant is now spreading faster in the U.K. than it did in South Africa, where it appears to have originated. It’s been estimated that on average, each infected British person is infecting as many as six others. Within households, Omicron appears twice as infectious as Delta. Over the weekend, the U.K.