Factbox-Global spread of Omicron cases and associated travel curbs

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon

LONDON (Reuters) – The Omicron coronavirus variant poses a high risk of global infection surges, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Following is a selected country-by-country snapshot of confirmed Omicron cases and travel restrictions imposed in an attempt to slow its spread.

CONFIRMED CASES BY NATION:

PORTUGAL

Portugal on Monday detected 13 cases of the Omicron variant – all related to players and staff members of Lisbon soccer team Belenenses, health authority DGS said.

SCOTLAND

Scotland reported six cases of Omicron on Monday, some of which were not linked to travel in southern Africa.

Britain had earlier announced three cases of the variant.

“On some of the cases involved, we are satisfied that there is no travel history or travel connection with southern Africa,” Scotland's deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC radio.

“So that means that it is likely that …Omicron …is circulating within the community.”

GERMANY

Two cases of Omicron were detected in the southern state of Bavaria and a suspected case was found in the west of the country, health officials said on Saturday.

AUSTRIA

Austria has identified a first case of Omicron, the health ministry of the province of Tyrol said on Monday.

ITALY

The National Health Institute said a case of the new variant had been detected in Milan in a person coming from Mozambique.

PRAGUE

Czech health authorities said they were examining a suspected case of Omicron in a person who spent time in Namibia.

AUSTRALIA

Australia said on Sunday that two people arriving from southern Africa over the weekend had tested positive for the Omicron variant.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS:

JAPAN

Japan said on Monday it would shut its borders to foreigners from midnight to prevent a spread of the Omicron variant there.

Japanese returnees from a number of specified nations will have to quarantine in designated facilities, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.

“These are temporary, exceptional measures that we are taking for safety's sake until there is clearer information about the Omicron variant,” Kishida said.

ISRAEL

Israel on Saturday became the first country to shut its borders completely in response to Omicron, and said it would use counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology in order to contain the variant's spread.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban would last 14 days.

UNITED STATES

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department on Saturday advised against travel to eight southern African countries.

The White House earlier said it would bar nearly all foreign nationals who have been in any of eight countries within the last 14 days from flying to the United States effective Monday.

BRITAIN

Britain has barred entry to non-residents from 10 southern African states, and British and Irish residents arriving from those countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

INDIA

India will make on-arrival COVID-19 testing mandatory for air travellers from more than a dozen countries, including South Africa and Britain where the Omicron variant has been detected, the health ministry said on Monday.

The decision, effective Dec. 1, came after a man who returned from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19, though it is not yet clear which variant of the virus he contracted.

BRAZIL

Brazil will shut its borders to travellers arriving from six southern African countries, the chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday.

CANADA

Canada is closing its borders to foreign travellers who have recently been to seven southern African nations to help stop the spread of Omicron, its health minister said on Friday.

AUSTRALIA

Australia will review plans to reopen to skilled migrants and students from Dec. 1, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. He added that it was a “bit too early” to reinstate two-week mandatory hotel quarantine for foreign travellers.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; compiled by John Stonestreet; editing by Mark heinrich)

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