Egypt reports first cases of Omicron variant in returning nationals

Mohamed Soliman , Saturday 18 Dec 2021

Egypt announced on Friday that it has detected its first three cases of the new coronavirus highly transmissible variant Omicron in Egyptian nationals who had returned from abroad at Cairo International Airport.

Coronavirus Egypt-airport AFP
A file photo of Egyptian Quarantine Authority employees preparing to scan body temperatures of incoming travellers at Cairo International Airport on February 1, 2020. (Photo : AFP)

The three detected cases were ordered to be placed in an isolation hospital, the Egyptian Ministry of Health stated, noting that two of whom were not experiencing any symptoms, while the third was suffering mild symptoms.

The Omicron cases were discovered on Thursday after the genomes were sequenced from 26 COVID-19 cases that were earlier detected among a group of arrivals at Cairo International Airport, the statement explained, without providing further details concerning the nationality of the infected people or their departure points.

However, Health Ministry Spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar later told the media that the three Omicron cases were detected in Egyptians who arrived from one of the countries that reported cases of the new variant.

The health ministry said it has applied all precautionary measures following the detection of the Omicron cases, including tracing all people who came into contact with them, stressing that the country's tracing and surveillance system detected no more Omicron cases at any of the airports or seaports.

Egypt has recently tightened pandemic-related safety measures at its ports due to mounting concerns over the Omicron variant, which the World Health Organization labeled a “variant of concern.”

The entry into Egypt by land, sea, or air is limited to arrivals who are vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the WHO or the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA); otherwise, arrivals must present a negative PCR test certificate or undergo testing upon arrival.

Under the rules, If the on-arrival test comes back positive, non-Egyptian arrival shall be deported, and Egyptian arrival shall be transferred to a designated hospital for coronavirus patients at their expense.

In addition, the health ministry also announced the detection of 910 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total infection tally officially to 373,509 since the outbreak began in February 2020.

The ministry also reported 43 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to 21,277.

The statement added that 700 patients have been discharged from hospitals after recovering from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 310,749.

Short link: