Spain detects first national case of Omicron variant of COVID-19


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Syringes with needles are seen in front of a displayed stock chart and the words “Omicron SARS-CoV-2” in this illustration taken on November 27, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

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MADRID, December 2 (Reuters) – Regional authorities in Madrid announced on Thursday that they had detected Spain’s first case of the Omicron variant coronavirus in a vaccinated person unrelated to countries at risk and were investigating two similar suspected cases.

It was the fifth confirmed case of the variant in Spain, Health Secretary Silvia Calzon said at a press conference later today – but the first showing Omicron is already circulating independently in the country.

“We are already seeing a handful of cases where transmission has occurred within a household,” Calzon said of the 78 confirmed cases of Omicron sequenced in the European Union. “But we still don’t know the effectiveness of the vaccines against this variant.”

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The northeastern region of Catalonia said on Wednesday it had detected potential traces of the coronavirus variant Omicron in wastewater samples from the end of November. Read more

The 62-year-old man in Madrid, who has been showing mild symptoms since November 29, is isolating himself at his home while his closest contacts are in quarantine, authorities said. The several other cases under investigation also presented only mild symptoms and had no history of travel to countries at risk.

Spain plans to start immunizing children aged 5 to 11 as soon as possible, with 1.3 million doses of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine expected to arrive on December 13, Health Minister Carolina told reporters. Darias.

A second shipment containing around 2 million doses is expected in January, she added.

The 14-day coronavirus infection rate in Spain rose again on Thursday to 234 per 100,000 people, having doubled since November 19 – but it remains significantly lower than in some EU countries such as the United States. -Lower, Belgium or Germany.

The Ministry of Health on Thursday added 14,500 cases to its tally of COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. The death toll increased from 42 to 88,122.

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Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Clara-Laeila Laudette, editing by Andrei Khalip, Alison Williams and Frances Kerry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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