The Maldives has discovered the first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) stated on Sunday.
The first case of the new variant was detected through genomic sequencing of a tourist’s COVID-19 positive sample, according to the HPA, but no information regarding the tourist’s origins or when they tested positive was provided.
The HPA did not disclose any other details regarding the case, other than to state that more information about the case would be released later.
However, according to unconfirmed media reports, the new variant was discovered in a South African traveller who tested positive for COVID-19 on November 27 while staying at Sandies Bathala Resort in Alif Alif Atoll.
The Maldives barred travellers from seven southern African nations on November 27 due to concerns over the new coronavirus variant. South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini are the seven African countries that have been added to the travel restriction list.
In addition, travellers who have resided in any of the seven nations 14 days before flying to the Maldives, or who have transited through those countries for more than 12 hours, would be barred from entering the Maldives, with an exception stated for Maldivian nationals and work visa holders.
But Maldivian nationals and work visa holders who fit those conditions must be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival, the HPA said, with release authorized after 14 days if the PCR test is negative.