Saudi Arabia detects first case of new coronavirus variant Omicron

Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it detected its first case of the new coronavirus variant omicron. The kingdom’s state-run Saudi Press Agency said the case came from a citizen coming from what it described as a “North African country”. The report said the infected individual and his close contacts had been quarantined. The case marks the first-known instance of Omicron being detected among Gulf Arab nations.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, which has been identified in more than 20 countries, including whether it is more contagious, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine. Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said more would be known about the omicron strain in two to four weeks as scientists grow and test lab samples of the virus.

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