Brazil detects its third Omicron case after fully vaccinated 29-year-old man who traveled from Ethiopia tested positive for the Covid variant

Brazil health officials have reported three cases of the COVID-19 Omicron strain The latest cases was reported Wednesday after a passenger from Ethiopia was tested at Guarulhos International Airport in Guarulhos, São Paulo, on SaturdayThe 29-year-old man, who is fully vaccinated, is isolating in Guarulhos where he livesA couple who flew from South Africa to Guarulhos International Airport with proof of negative tests  November 23 and tested positive two days laterBoth worked as Brazilian missionaries in South American and visited the airport for a new test ahead of their return tripThe Brazilian government has banned flights from originating from or with stopovers in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe Brazil has 614,964 confirmed coronavirus deaths, second in the world to the United States  

Brazilian health officials have confirmed the South American nation’s third known case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant as the government is considering new measures to contain a virus in a country that has registered the second-most deaths in the world.

The São Paulo Health Department reported the latest case Wednesday after a passenger from Ethiopia tested positive for the coronavirus moments after disembarking from an airplane at Guarulhos International Airport in Guarulhos, São Paulo, on Saturday.

The 29-year-old man, who did not show any symptoms of the deadly virus, is fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and is in good health condition and isolating in Guarulhos where he resides.

A 41-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman who work as Brazilian missionaries in South Africa were the first to test positive for the coronavirus Omicron strain on November 25.

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday. So far, health officials have detected three Omicron cases, the first in Latin America

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday. So far, health officials have detected three Omicron cases, the first in Latin America

Brazil  reported its third Omicron variant cases Wednesday. The nation has 614,964 confirmed coronavirus deaths

Brazil  reported its third Omicron variant cases Wednesday. The nation has 614,964 confirmed coronavirus deaths

The State Department of Health, who revealed the positive results Tuesday, said the couple had returned from South Africa to visit family members in São Paulo.

They initially presented negative PCR tests upon arriving from South Africa on November 23 and but learned they were infected after visiting a testing lab at Guarulhos International Airport for a second test ahead of their return trip.

The three Omicron cases are the first to be detected in Latin America.

Brazil – the epicenter of the pandemic in the region – had registered 614,964 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, second behind the United States, as of Thursday.

The South American country’s 22,105,872 confirmed cases are third behind the United States and India.

Health officials in Brazil are exploring new ways on how to stop the spread of the virus by such as requiring proof of vaccination or even possibly scrapping Carnival celebrations if conditions grow worse.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill and whether it can thwart the vaccine.

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station, in São Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil  - the epicenter of the coronavirus  in Latin America - has reported three cases of the coronavirus Omicron strain

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station, in São Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil  – the epicenter of the coronavirus  in Latin America – has reported three cases of the coronavirus Omicron strain

The number of daily deaths and new infections from the virus are currently low and vaccination coverage is higher than in many countries – including the United States

Brazilian mayors and governors, in charge of implementing local measures to rein in COVID-19, were closely watching the situation unfold, waiting for more information on the new variant.

In Rio de Janeiro, where New Year’s Eve and Carnival usually attract millions of visitors each, Mayor Eduardo Paes said both events were still scheduled, but warned they would only go forward if it is safe to organize them.

‘I want to remind you that planning an event does not mean that it will necessarily take place. After all, it is entirely possible to cancel what was planned,’ Paes said Tuesday in a recorded statement.

Sao Paulo Governor João Doria also said Tuesday the state’s COVID-19 scientific committee will reassess the scheduled Dec. 11 end of mask mandates.

The federal government said Tuesday it needed ‘further clarification’ on the epidemiological situation in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia before deciding whether to suspend flights from these countries, as recommended by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency, known as Anvisa.

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday. The South American country has already blocked flights originating from or with stopovers in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe to contain the COVID-19 Omicron strain

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday. The South American country has already blocked flights originating from or with stopovers in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe to contain the COVID-19 Omicron strain

The South American country has already blocked flights originating from or with stopovers in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Rodrigo Cruz, the Health Ministry’s number two, said on Wednesday the nation was also debating whether to require vaccine certificates from arriving passengers. Brazil does not currently require COVID-19 vaccination from foreign travelers entering the country.

In a technical note sent to the government on November 12, Anvisa asked the government to consider such a step, citing a 4.6 percent increase in tourism activities in October and upcoming end-of-year celebrations.

The lack of vaccine requirement ‘may allow Brazil to become one of the countries of choice for unvaccinated tourists and travelers, which is undesirable from the point of view of the risk that this group represents for the Brazilian population,’ Anvisa said.

Other suspicious cases are being investigated, including in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states, with a final number expected to be released later Wednesday, Health Ministry said.  

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