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New COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa triggers global alarm

New COVID-19 variant

A new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ first detected in South Africa has been causing global concern. India has added a number of countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country. These countries include South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Israel, Hong Kong, countries in Europe and UK.

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Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to health secretaries of all states and Union Territories had shared, “It has now been reported by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that multiple cases of a COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 (named as Omicron) have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Hong Kong (1 case). This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel.” Canada has recently banned the entry of foreign nationals who have travelled to southern Africa region over the last 14 days.

 

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