Japan on Wednesday imposed a month-long suspension on all new inbound flight bookings in an attempt to prevent the fast-spreading Omicron variant from taking hold in the country, while Germany reported that four people tested positive for the new strain were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa last week and has since spread to dozens of countries around the world. The World Health Organization has warned that the new strain poses a “very high” global risk and urged governments to speed up vaccination of high priority groups.
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9:10 a.m. Paris time: Nigeria confirms first Omicron cases Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, confirmed its first cases of the new variant of Covid-19 on Wednesday, among three passengers arriving from South Africa.
“Omicron is prevalent around the world … So it’s a question of when, not if, we will identify more cases,” said Ifedayo Adetifa, head of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control.
Nigeria is home to around 210 million people and has launched vaccination campaigns, but vaccination rates remain low, with just over 6.5 million people having received one injection and around 3.5 million people having received two injections.
8:40 a.m. KST: Germany says four cases of Omicron have been detected among those vaccinatedFour people in southern Germany have tested positive for the Omicron variant despite being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Three of those infected returned from a business trip to South Africa on November 26 and 27 respectively, and the fourth person is a family member of one of the returnees, the public health unit said. Baden-Württemberg State, adding that all four had shown moderate symptoms and were in quarantine.
8:30 a.m. KST: Japan suspends new inbound flight bookingsJapan’s Transport Ministry said it has asked airlines to stop taking new bookings of inbound flights for a month from December 1 due to Omicron concerns. Existing reservations will not be affected by the suspension.
Japan has so far reported two confirmed cases of Omicron. Earlier this week, it tightened its border measures, banning the entry of all non-nationals from 10 southern African countries.
(AXADLETM with AP, AFP, REUTERS)
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