Germany confirms suspected Omicron case, bringing total to three

A woman takes the digital data of a man at a rapid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test centre amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Furstenfeldbruck

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany said on Sunday it had detected a total of three cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant after a suspected infection in the western state of Hesse was confirmed.

“The sequencing has confirmed the result – the suspected case which was made public yesterday morning is the Omicron variant,” Kai Klose, Social Affairs Minister in the state of Hesse tweeted.

On Saturday he said a suspected Omicron case had been found in a passenger arriving from South Africa in Hesse, home to Frankfurt airport, one of Europe's busiest air hubs.

On Saturday, health officials in the southern state of Bavaria detected two cases of the Omicron variant.

Restrictions on air travel from South Africa took effect on Sunday after it was classified as a virus-variant area. This means airlines can fly only Germans to Germany from South Africa and even those who are vaccinated must spend 14 days in quarantine.

The new variant has caused alarm in Germany which, like many other European countries, is struggling to contain a fourth wave of the COVID-19 crisis, with a surge in coronavirus cases.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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