By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Swedish Public Health Agency, or Folkhälsomyndigheten (computer translated) reported today on a case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in a person who recently returned from a stay in South Africa.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The variant was detected in a sample taken a little more than a week ago from a person residing in Region Skåne.

It was expected that we would find the variant also in Sweden because it was discovered in several other countries in Europe. The little information we have about the variant means that we should take it very seriously until we have more knowledge. The measures for travelers from southern Africa have been tightened since Friday and the development is now being closely monitored through intensified monitoring in accordance with the WHO’s and ECDC’s recommendations, says Karin Tegmark Wisell, Director General of the Swedish Public Health Agency.

Since Friday 26 November, there is an official recommendation that all travelers from southern Africa should be tested for covid-19 on arrival in Sweden, that they should take a new test after five days and stay at home for seven days after returning home. There is also a ban on entry from the countries in the region. Exceptions from the ban are found in Ordinance (2020: 127) on a temporary entry ban to Sweden. The Swedish Public Health Agency acts in accordance with the risk assessment and recommendation on measures communicated by the ECDC and WHO. Today, there is nothing to suggest that the measures that are in place or have existed previously during the pandemic will not have an effect on the omicron either.

The monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants to detect the possible presence of omicrons even among non-travelers has been intensified. At present, all positive samples are sequenced after a trip abroad and approximately 40 percent of all samples from people infected with covid-19 in Sweden. Sequencing to map and identify new variants is carried out, if necessary, also on weekends.