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First Omicron case detected in Greece, national health service
The first Omicron variant case of COVID-19 has been detected in Greece, and the man is quarantined, Head of National Public Health Organization EODY Theoklis Zaoutis said at a briefing on Thursday.
"The first Omicron variant case have been confirmed this morning. It is our citizen who arrived in Greece on November 26. He took an express test at the airport, which was negative. Next day he developed mild symptoms, which persist at the moment. He took express tests every day, and they were negative. On November 29, the express test turned to be positive and verification was conducted with the use of a PCR test. Suspecting Omicron variant, we conducted examination," Zaoutis said, adding that on Thursday morning the case was confirmed. According to him, the man is quarantined with everyone he contacted.
"We traced his contacts and tested them, as of now, all tests are negative. All [of his contacts] are under the EODY supervision and civil protection," Zaoutis said.
Minister of Health Thanos Plevris said that the infected Greek arrived from the South Africa and resides in Crete.
Zaoutis noted that there are several questions concerning the new COVID-19 variant.
"Firstly, is there higher contagiousness. As of now, we do not know. There are the data from South Africa [showing] that [Omicron] is not more contagious than other variants as Delta. The second question regards the course of the disease, here we also do not know a lot. Doctors in South Africa describe the symptoms as very mild. The last and the most urgent question is that does the existing medicine treat this virus," Zaoutis said.
In his opinion, it looks like the vaccines are effective against this novel variant, therefore everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated.
The World Health Organization, following the results of the emergency meeting on Friday, made the decision to classify the new variant of COVID-19 detected in South Africa as raising concern. The new variant B.1.1.529 was named by WHO after the Greek alphabet letter "Omicron." (ANI/Sputnik)