The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated Friday evening that no cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant have been identified in the U.S. to this point.
In an announcement, the company wrote that it was following the main points of the brand new B.1.1.529 variant, which was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by South Africa and categorized as a “variant of concern” by the group on Friday.
“We are grateful to the South African government and its scientists who have openly communicated with the global scientific community and continue to share information about this variant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC.,” the CDC stated.
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“We are working with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more about this variant, as we continue to monitor its path,” it wrote.
The CDC famous that it’s constantly monitoring variants and that the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in the U.S.
“We expect omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U.S.,” the company added.
The company stated vacationers to the U.S. ought to proceed to comply with the CDC’s suggestions for touring and that individuals ought to proceed to comply with COVID-19 prevention methods, like sporting a well-fitting masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or excessive neighborhood transmission, bodily distancing, washing their palms often and getting vaccinated in opposition to the illness.
The CDC stated it will present updates as extra data turns into out there.
News of the variant despatched well being officers the world over scrambling to react on Friday, with a number of nations – together with the U.S. – implementing journey restrictions regardless of WHO steering and pleas from the Africa Centers or Disease Control and Prevention, which stated that such journey bans have “not yielded a meaningful outcome.”
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Cases of the variant have been reported in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong. Germany additionally has a possible case.
Dutch authorities are checking for the omicron variant after 61 passengers on two flights from South Africa examined optimistic for COVID-19.
U.Ok. Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed Saturday that two folks in Britain had examined optimistic for the variant and that the cases had been linked and associated to journey from southern Africa.
One was in the southeastern English city of Brentwood and the opposite was in the central metropolis of Nottingham. The two cases are self-isolating alongside their households whereas contract tracing and focused testing takes place.
“It seems to spread rapidly,” President Biden stated Friday, telling reporters that he is determined “that we’re going to be cautious.”
The White House stated that the U.S. will prohibit journey from South Africa and 7 different nations in the area starting on Monday, with exceptions for U.S. residents, everlasting residents and for a number of different classes.
The omicron variant – which has a excessive quantity of mutations – alarmed well being professionals attributable to its swift unfold amongst younger folks in South Africa, though there was no instant indication whether or not the variant causes extra extreme illness.
Early proof suggests omicron carries an elevated threat of an infection in contrast with different extremely transmissible variants, in keeping with the WHO.
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U.S. and South African scientists had been assembly Friday to debate their findings, although it’s not yet recognized whether or not omicron can evade immune response.
A quantity of pharmaceutical corporations, together with AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer, stated they’ve plans in place to adapt their vaccines in gentle of the emergence of omicron.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.