The Britain on Saturday confirmed its first two positive cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid-19, both cases linked to travel from southern Africa, and expanded travel restrictions on the affected region.
A statement from UK government said “After overnight genome sequencing, the UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that two cases of Covid-19 with mutations consistent with B.1.1.529 (Omicron) have been identified in the UK”.
It added, “The two cases are linked and there is a link to travel to southern Africa”.
One among the cases was identified in the central English city of Nottingham, while the other in Chelmsford east of London, said officials.
“We have moved rapidly and the individuals are self-isolating while contact tracing is ongoing,” said Health Secretary “Sajid Javid”.
Javid added that the government was planning to add another four African countries on its travel “red list” — Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola — effective from 4:00 am (0400 GMT) on Sunday.
The British government has already said it is banning travel from six southern African nations because of the emergence of Omicron, this countries include: South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
After taking the decision, The government was widely criticized for its travel and quarantine policy earlier in the pandemic, especially the time when it kept it borders open to foreign travellers even as infection rates spiralled.
“This is a strong reminder that we are not yet out of this pandemic,” Javid said, he then urge the public to get follow-up booster jabs of vaccines. “We will not hesitate to take further action if required.”