Home / News / World /  US reports first Omicron Covid case in California. What we know so far

The United States has announced its first confirmed case of Omicron, the new variant of Covid, in a traveller who has recently returned from South Africa. This is the first known case of the new variant, first identified by South African scientists, in the US.

"Today, the CDC has confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant detected in the United States," White House COVID-⁠19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday.

“We know what it takes to limit the spread of COVID: Get vaccinated, get boosted, and take public health measures like masking and distancing. We will remain steadfast in our fight against this virus. And we will continue to be guided by the science and proven public health measures to keep people safe," he added.

The first known US case is a fully vaccinated person in California who returned to the United States from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later.

The person had mild symptoms and was in self-quarantine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told reporters at the White House.

Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a White House coronavirus briefing that as part of the ramped-up efforts to ward off new variants, the U.S. has significantly increased genomic sequencing to 80,000 samples a week, more than any other country.

Meanwhile, the number of new cases reported in South Africa doubled from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Britain and the United States have both expanded their booster programs in response to the new variant.

The WHO has noted many times that the coronavirus will keep producing new variants for as long as it is allowed to circulate freely in large unvaccinated populations.


Some 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel measures to guard against Omicron as of Nov. 28, the WHO said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres slammed what he called "travel apartheid."

"Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," the WHO said, while advising those who were unwell, at risk, or 60 years and over and unvaccinated to postpone travel.

The United States has barred nearly all foreigners who have been in one of eight southern African countries.

-With agency inputs



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