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Germany confirms two cases of new Covid strain

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Germany confirms two cases of new Covid strain

Germany confirmed its first two cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid-19 on Saturday, in travelers arriving at Munich airport from South Africa, regional officials said.

“Two suspected cases of the new variant of the Omicron virus, classified by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern, have been confirmed in Bavaria,” the southern state’s health ministry said in a statement.

The people, who arrived in Germany on Wednesday, have been isolating themselves at home since receiving positive PCR test results for the coronavirus, the ministry added.

A ministry spokeswoman said that after reading news reports about the new strain, people “proactively sought a test for the variant.”

He said that in addition, two foreign passengers who arrived in Bavaria on a flight from Cape Town on Friday had tested positive for coronavirus and authorities were now investigating whether they were also infected with the new strain.

The Bavarian report came after health officials in the western German state of Hesse identified the country’s first suspected case of the new Covid-19 variant, in a person who also returned from South Africa.

The person, who was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, developed symptoms “within the week” and was then examined.

Final results of gene sequencing are expected “in the next few days.”

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is expected to be sworn in as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor early next month, stressed on Saturday that his coalition would do “whatever it takes” to fight “corona and Omicron.”

“There is nothing that cannot be considered,” he tweeted, as calls grew louder for mandatory coronavirus vaccines and new lockdown measures.

Belgium said on Friday that it had detected the first announced case in Europe of the new Covid-19 variant, in an unvaccinated person returning from abroad.

Meanwhile, Britain on Saturday confirmed its first two cases of the new Omicron strain, which the World Health Organization has declared a worrying variant.

EU officials agreed on Friday to urge the 27 nations of the bloc to restrict travel from various southern African nations, a policy that Germany has already announced.

Source Credit: TheGuardian

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