Brazil confirmed on Tuesday the first two infections with the omicron variant of the coronavirus, detected in a couple from Sao Paulo who were in South Africa and represent the first two cases in Latin America.
They are a 41-year-old man and his 37-year-old wife, whose cases were confirmed after conducting covid-19 tests and subsequent genetic sequencing at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, detailed the Secretary of Health of the state of Sao Paulo.
Brazil, with its 213 million inhabitants, is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in the world in absolute terms and has accumulated almost 615,000 deaths and 22 million coronavirus infections so far.
Before the government’s announcement, Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa had reported the two cases as “preliminary” positives.
“The confirmation was made after genetic sequencing in the laboratory of the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, with quality already endorsed and verified by the Adolfo Lutz Institute”, he indicated.
Those infected are “a 41-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman from South Africa,” who “disembarked in Brazil on 23 (November) and did a new test before embarking (to South Africa) on 25”, the note specified.
Both reportedly had mild symptoms at the time of the PCR test, and since then they have been in home isolation and under monitoring, as have their relatives.
It has not yet been confirmed whether those infected had received anticovid vaccines.
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The health authorities of the most populous state in Brazil also reported that a suspicious case reported on Sunday of a passenger from Ethiopia who visited South Africa is under analysis.
Brazil closed its air borders from Monday to six African countries (South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zimbabwe) to prevent the spread of the new variant of coronavirus.
Over the weekend, Anvisa recommended that the government ban the entry of foreigners from Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia.
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