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Cairo: Saudi Health Ministry Wednesday reported the first case of the new COVID-19 strain Omicron in a citizen returning from a North African country.

An official source at the ministry said the infected citizen and those who have come into contact with him have been isolated.

The source urged all members of society to quickly get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and strictly comply with health precautions.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia suspended flights with 14 African countries as a precaution against the highly transmible strain.

The report said the infected individual and his close contacts had been quarantined.

The case marks the first-known instance of omicron being detected among Gulf Arab nations.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, which has been identified in more than 20 countries, including whether it is more contagious, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said more would be known about the omicron strain in two to four weeks as scientists grow and test lab samples of the virus.