First case of Omicron variant in Spain detected in Madrid

It is a passenger from South Africa

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Entrance to the Gregorio Mara ñón hospital in Madrid, this Sunday

MADRIDThe microbiology service of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid has reported the first confirmed Omicron case in Spain this Monday afternoon. Madrid's Health Department explained the 51-year-old man, who arrived in Madrid from South Africa on November 28, having made a stopover in Amsterdam, is "well with mild symptoms".

The disease was detected thanks to an antigen screening at the airport Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas, as Madrid's regional government explained in a statement. The Directorate General of Public Health is tracking the man's close contacts, as well as other passengers onboard yesterday's flight to Madrid from Amsterdam.

According to the hospital's clinical microbiology and infectious diseases service, the case was confirmed this Monday through sequencing. "We have managed to set up an ultra-fast procedure that allows us to have the result the same day," the hospital explained.

In recent days the trickle of European countries that confirmed the detection of cases of the new variant has been constant. Therefore, the European Union, as the new epicenter of the pandemic, has reacted with special speed and coordination, fearing the impact the new variant of the virus may have. It was first detected mainly in seven countries in southern Africa and the World Health Organization (WHO) described it on Friday as "worrying".

In this sense, many countries, including Spain, have suspended flights to the region. In particular, those from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In addition, this Monday the Ministry of Health has confirmed that for fourteen days all persons arriving from any of these countries will have to make a isolate for 10 days, with the possibility of reducing it to 7 with a negative PCR result.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has assured that the global risk posed by the new covid-19 variant, called omicron, is "very high". In addition, it warns that there may be "new waves of covid-19 with serious consequences, depending on many factors, such as where these waves take place"