He said that a Greek citizen who recently arrived from South Africa was diagnosed as having the variant on the Greek island of Crete.
The Minister assured the public that all quarantine protocols and tracking protocols have been observed.
The president of the Hellenic National Public Health Organization (EODY), Theoklis Zaoutis, said that the person arrived in Greece from South Africa on the morning of November 26. He noted that the first rapid test proved negative. However, on November 29 he tested positive for the coronavirus and he then underwent a PCR test.
“It turned out that this was a case of the Omicron mutation. All contacts of the case were tracked and their tests were negative for the coronavirus. They remain under surveillance,” Zaoutis said.
The first case of the Omicron variant in the U.S was also detected on Wednesday in the city of San Francisco, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative,” the CDC stated in the press release.
No lockdown in Greece over Covid surge
Greek authorities reiterated last week that there will be no national lockdowns and no new measures for those vaccinated against Covid-19 despite the emergence of the new Omicron variant and a surge in positive cases.
“We are not going into lockdown, we are doing everything possible to limit the spread of the pandemic, reinforce the national health system, and increase vaccination coverage, including the third dose,” Government Spokesperson Yiannis Economou told a press conference, leaving open the possibility of additional measures for the unvaccinated.
Omicron variant spreads in many nations
The Omicron variant, which was announced by South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Nov. 25. has now been diagnosed in many nations all over the globe, from South Africa to Canada, Australia, Great Britain, the US, and now Greece.
The World Health Organization (WHO), unsettled by the presence of the new variant and its detection all over the world announced on Monday that Omicron has shown that it spreads more easily and may lead to further surges in infection rates, saying that such spikes could lead to “severe consequences” in some places.
As of now, there have been no deaths linked to the Omicron mutation, but research must be undertaken to determine if the vaccines currently in use will work against it and if those who have antibodies to other strains will also have that natural protection against the new variant.
The WHO, therefore, urged all of its 194 member nations to accelerate vaccinations in their high-priority groups.
This is a developing story