20210329 uae COVID-19 cases
File image used for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: UAE authorities confirmed the detection of the first Omicron variant case in the country on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention announced that the individual had arrived from an African nation and was passing through the UAE. The patient was vaccinated against COVID-19 according to the approved national protocol, authorities added.

Saudi Arabia had also announced the first Omicron case detected in the Kingdom on Wednesday. A person in California who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 became the first in the U.S. to have an identified case of the omicron variant, the White House announced Wednesday. The latest variant of the coronavirus disease was named Omicron by the WHO and was first detected and flagged by researchers in South Africa.

The UAE had suspended inbound flights from 7 countries due to concern over the spread of COVID-19 variants. The travel ban took effect from Monday, November 29. 

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Official Spokesperson of the Health Sector, had said in a media briefing last week that competent authorities in the UAE were following up on the latest developments with regard to the new COVID-19 variant to take necessary actions accordingly. 

She made it clear that the World Health Organization report which said that there are large genetic mutations that may affect the characteristics of the virus and the speed of its spread more than previous ones, requires further research and investigation.

Al Hosani stressed, in the briefing, the importance of adhering to precautionary measures including wearing masks, regularly washing hands, and maintaining social distance. She added that these key factors would play a crucial role in curbing the spread of COVID-19.