The first confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the United States was detected in California, the federal agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021, “the agency said in a statement.
“The person, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is in quarantine and has since tested positive. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative.”
His case was detected by Health Departments California and San Francisco Public and confirmed by the CDC.
The variant Omicron was first identified in South Africa a week ago and has been designated as a variant of concern for World Health Organization (WHO).
Scientists do not yet have hard data, but based on the pattern of mutations of the new strain they hope that it at least partially circumvents the protective action of current vaccines and that it may be more transmissible than delta, the current dominant global strain.
The United States is envisaging stricter testing and quarantine requirements for international travelers arriving in the country, including conducting a Covid-19 diagnostic test a day before departure, the CDC said Wednesday.
Imposing mandatory diagnostic tests upon arrival, and even a mandatory quarantine, is also being considered, regardless of the test result, reported the Washington Post.