- CDC finds no cases of new COVID-19 Omron variant in US
- The report was released Friday night, with US COVID Czar Anthony Fauci warning on Saturday that the variant may already be in the country
- The variant, considered the most contagious yet, has already arrived in several European countries, Israel, Hong Kong and Australia.
- President Biden has imposed travel restrictions in the eight South African countries where Omicron was first reported, effective Monday.
- Flights from South Africa continued over the weekend with the CDC saying any cases of Omicron would be “early identified”.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that no cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 had been identified in the country as of Friday night.
The agency said it was following up on the details of the new variant, which was first reported in South Africa and is thought to be more contagious than previous variants. The CDC classifies Omicron as having an ‘anxiety type’.
“We are grateful to the South African government and its scientists who have communicated openly with the global scientific community and continue to share information about this edition with the US Department of Health and Human Services and CDC,” the CDC said in a statement. kept.”
‘We are working with other US and global public health and industry partners to learn more about this type, as we continue to monitor its path.’
The agency said Omicron would be “early identified” if it shows up in the US as the virus has spread to several European countries, Israel, Hong Kong and Australia.
The CDC’s statement came as top US health expert Dr Anthony Fauci said he ‘won’t be surprised’ if Omicron was already in the country after a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, landing at Newark airport on Saturday morning. Had been.
Cases of omicron have already been reported in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. It is not yet known whether the version arrived in the Netherlands yesterday, but Dutch authorities are ordering tests of passengers. Suspected individual cases are also being sequenced in Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia.
Dr Anthony Fauci said he ‘won’t be surprised’ if this new Covid variant of Omicron was already in the US. On the TODAY Show Saturday morning he said he is concerned about ‘transmissibility’, but there are still too many unknowns.
The Newark trip was dangerous because one in ten passengers who disembarked from Johannesburg in Holland tested positive for Covid, although it was not clear if Omicron was infected with the strain.
On Saturday morning, Fauci told show today ‘We haven’t detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmission potential and you already have travel-related cases… it’s going to be almost forever. ‘
“You have to be careful and assume that’s the case,” he said, noting that Omicron could possibly ‘avoid’ vaccination.
Fauci’s concerns about ‘transmissibility’ come as President Joe Biden has banned travelers from eight African countries – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi – not in effect until Monday. Will be
Eight flights will also leave from South Africa for New York on Sunday.
US citizens and green card holders from other regions of Africa will still be allowed to travel to the US.
The CDC said it will continue to monitor any and all variants of the virus and will provide updates as more information becomes available about Omicron.
Biden has said the pandemic will not end until global vaccinations are in place.
A White House official told DailyMail.com on Saturday that the president has been given the latest information about Omicron. Additionally, senior health officials and the COVID response team are also monitoring the latest updates on Omicron and in regular contact with health officials around the world.
In New York, Governor Cathy Hochul declared a state of emergency as COVID transmission reached rates not seen since April 2020.
Hochul stressed that a disturbing new version of Covid, which first appeared in Botswana, is “coming”.
His warning came as a leading epidemiologist told DailyMail.com that the new strain was deeply troubling, urging tougher travel restrictions and saying the virus could spark ‘Pandemic 2.0’.
President Biden spoke to reporters in Nantucket, where he celebrated Thanksgiving with his family, and said he decided to impose restrictions very carefully.
South African experts on Friday tried to calm the wave of panic over this edition, describing it as a ‘storm in a tea cup’.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed new COVID restrictions in response to the ‘monstrous’ new Omicron version after seven countries in southern Africa were placed on a red list – requiring all travelers to go into hotel quarantine.
All passengers arriving in the UK will have to undergo a PCR test on the second day after landing and isolate at home until the results are received and all contacts of someone infected with the Omicron variant will be required to isolate for 10 days.
During a press conference on Saturday, accompanied by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, the prime minister also announced that the rules for face masks in public places would be tightened.
In an address to the nation, Mr Johnson warned that Omicron is “significantly different from other configurations of the virus” and warned that it will “undermine the safety of our vaccines over time”.
Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference after the new version of cases was confirmed in the United Kingdom