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First 3 Omicron Variant Cases Detected at Cairo International Airport

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First 3 Omicron Variant Cases Detected at Cairo International Airport

A worker wears protective gear as he sprays disinfectant, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Hurghada International Airport in Hurghada, Egypt, June 18, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Egypt reported its first three cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 at the Cairo International Airport on Friday, 17 December, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population.

A statement from the Ministry of Health specified that the individuals carrying the highly transmissible variant have been taken to a quarantine hospital. The statement did not specify their nationality, though national media confirmed that they are Egyptian nationals.

The statement also did not disclose the point of origin of their flights, only that they had come from a location that had previously detected cases of the Omicron variant.

The cases were detected when the genomes of 26 positive COVID-19 cases at the Cairo International Airport were sequenced. Two of the infected individuals in question are asymptomatic while one is experiencing mild symptoms.

Having applied more stringent safety measures to avoid the spread of the Omicron variant in Egypt, the Health Ministry also stated that it has traced all who came into contact with the three cases, assuring that no other cases of the variant have been detected.

Entry into Egypt is currently limited to travellers who have received any of the vaccines approved by either the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA). Unvaccinated travellers must provide a recent negative PCR.

On Friday, Egypt reported 910 new cases of COVID-19 and 43 new deaths caused by the virus.

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Senior Editor at Egyptian Streets. Adjunct Professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. Holds a master's degree in Global Journalism from the University of Sheffield, where she wrote a dissertation about the effect of disinformation on the profession of journalism. Passionate about music, story-telling, baking, social justice, and taking care of her plants. "If you smell something, say something." -Jon Stewart, 2015

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