The first two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant were detected in Brazil on Tuesday, which could also be the first cases in Latin America.
Samples from two Brazilians who tested positive for the Omicron variant through the renowned Albert Einstein Hospital would be sent for confirmatory laboratory analysis, a statement from Brazil’s health surveillance agency, Anvisa, said on Tuesday.
According to the news portal G1, the cases involve Brazilian missionaries living in South Africa.
In February 2020, the first coronavirus case in the country was also registered in the metropolis of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.
According to official figures, more than 22 million people have now been infected in Brazil, a country of 210 million, while almost 614,000 patients have died in connection with COVID-19, there have been more deaths only in the U.S.
Most recently, Sao Paulo declared itself the “vaccination capital of the world’’ with a vaccination rate of just over 100 per cent.
The reason for this unusual figure is that people who reside elsewhere were also vaccinated in Sao Paulo.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has classified the Omicron variant, first discovered in southern Africa, as “of concern”.
The EU health authority, ECDC, speaks of serious concerns that Omicron could significantly reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and increase the risk of reinfection.
The exact effects of the mutated variant are not yet known.
In the meantime, cases of the variant have been discovered in several countries, including Germany.
In Latin America, however, there has not yet been a confirmed case.