Two new cases of Omicron Covid variant discovered in Sweden

Two new cases of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa on November 9th, have been discovered in tests taken less than a week ago from residents of the Stockholm region. Those affected had recently returned from South Africa.

PCR tests being prepared for analysis in a lab
PCR tests being prepared for analysis in a lab. Archive photo. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“This has not come as a surprise, as this variant has already been found in other parts of Sweden as well as in our neighbouring countries,” said infection control specialist Maria Rotzén Östlund in a press statement.

Sweden’s first case of new coronavirus variant Omicron (B.1.1.529) was confirmed at 4pm on Monday, in a person who lives in southern region Skåne and who had also recently returned from South Africa, said the Swedish Public Health Agency in a statement.

Sweden on Friday stepped up its recommendations for returning travellers after the WHO designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”. Everyone who travels to Sweden from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia or Eswatini is urged to get a Covid-19 test on the day of arrival or as soon as possible, as well as a second test after five days.

Additionally, all travellers from the above countries should stay home for seven days upon arrival in Sweden, irrespective of vaccination status, whether they are experiencing symptoms or not. This also includes children.

The variant has also been discovered in several European countries, and may be more contagious than other variants of Covid-19.

Sweden currently sequences all positive Covid-19 tests of international travellers and around 40 percent of all positive tests in the country, said the Public Health Agency.

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