Middle East, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Saudi Arabia registers first case of COVID omicron variant

Passenger coming from North African country contracted omicron variant

Mahmoud al-Bozum   | 01.12.2021
Saudi Arabia registers first case of COVID omicron variant

ISTANBUL

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday confirmed the first case of the omicron variant of coronavirus.

The state news agency SPA said, citing the health ministry, said that a Saudi passenger coming from a North African country had contracted the virus.

The statement said the passenger and people who were in contact had been isolated.

On Friday, the Saudi authorities suspended flights with several African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini, over the spread of the new variant.

As various countries shut their borders to several African nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that such measures alone will not curb the spread of the new strain.

As of Tuesday, Saudi health authorities confirmed 549,752 coronavirus cases, including 8,836 deaths, since COVID-19 was first detected in the kingdom.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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