Mexico detects 1st case of Omicron variant of Covid-19

Mexico City, Dec 3 (EFE).- Mexico’s first known case of infection with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 involves a vaccinated man who became ill six days after arriving in the Aztec nation from South Africa, where the new variant was first identified, Deputy Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Friday.

“He has a mild illness and voluntarily entered a private hospital in Mexico City to avoid spreading the virus. His prognosis for recovery is favorable,” the official said on Twitter.

The 51-year-old businessman went to the hospital on Monday, two days after he began to experience symptoms, and agreed to be placed in preventive isolation, the Health Secretariat said in a statement.

During a press conference later Friday, Lopez-Gatell urged Mexicans to remain calm in the face of Omicron and stick with the existing strategy of vaccination, mask-wearing and maintaining social distance.

“The propagation of a variant that is not more aggressive does not have to be a reason for concern,” the epidemiologist coordinating Mexico’s efforts against the pandemic said.

While Omicron is more contagious, it “does not cause more serious illness,” is not more deadly and does not evade the immunity provided by vaccines, he said.

Lopez-Gatell pointed to the guidance from the World Health Organization that “vaccination continues to be fundamental to reduce risks of hospitalization and death.”

“Closing borders and blocking people or goods are not useful measures to contain the variants,” he said, adding that Mexico has protocols in place to detect Covid-19 in travelers arriving from abroad.

Authorities in the United States have detected 15 cases of infection with the Omicron, including in two individuals who had not traveled outside the country.

Mexico, with 3.9 million confirmed cases and 294,700 deaths from Covid-19, has declined to impose lockdowns or close its borders. More than 77 million of the country’s 126 million inhabitants have had at least one dose of vaccine and 65 million are fully vaccinated. EFE er/dr

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