Brazil Reports Third Case of Coronavirus Variant Omicron

Brazil on Wednesday reported its third case of COVID-19 variant Omicron, after a Brazilian national who arrived from eastern Africa over the weekend tested positive.

Brazil’s southeastern Sao Paulo state said in a statement that the case “involves a passenger from Ethiopia who landed at Guarulhos (airport) last Saturday and tested positive for COVID-19.”

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Brazil, which has the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll after the United States, and the third-largest outbreak behind the United States and India, is so far the only Latin American country to report cases of the new variant.

The state-run Adolfo Lutz Institute carried out the genetic sequencing that confirmed the third case of the variant.

The first two confirmed cases involved a Brazilian couple who arrived from South Africa, where they reside, on Nov. 23, following a stopover in Ethiopia.

On Monday, Brazil barred flights from six African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Its land border crossings remain closed except with neighboring Paraguay, according to a government decree issued on Saturday to deal with the spread of the latest variant.

Over 62 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated in Brazil, where the pandemic death toll is approaching 615,000 and more than 22 million confirmed cases of the disease have been registered.

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