Omicron, a new mutant of COVID-19, has already spread in Europe a week before it was first reported in South Africa.
According to the Associated Press on the 30th (local time), the Netherlands’ National Institute of Public Health and Environment (RIVM) announced that omicron mutations were detected in samples of patients who developed on the 19th and 23rd. It was on the 24th that South African authorities first reported the existence of this mutation to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In other words, Omicron was spreading earlier than previously known in the Netherlands.
So far, much has not been confirmed, including whether the omicron mutation is more contagious than before, makes it more severe, or negates the effectiveness of the vaccine.
However, the WHO predicted that it could spread rapidly in southern Africa, given the increasing number of confirmed cases of Omicron in South Africa and Botswana.
The European Union (EU) CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) counted 44 cases of Omicron confirmed in 11 member countries as of today. Most of them have traveled to Africa. Omicron mutations have also been identified in the EU, southern Africa, Australia, Canada, the UK, and Israel.
US experts also predicted that Omicron already exists in the US and will soon be discovered.
On the other hand, Belgium said that the omicron mutation was confirmed in a traveler who returned from Egypt on the 11th, but this confirmed person started feeling mild symptoms from the 22nd.
Japan banned all foreigners from entering the country from that day, but on the same day, a confirmed case of Omicron mutation was confirmed. A Namibian diplomat who recently returned home.
France also reported the first case of the virus in French Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The confirmed patient was a man who returned from a trip to South Africa and Mozambique on the 20th, before the mutation was reported to the WHO at this time.