Chile Locates First Omicron Variant Case in Traveler From Ghana
(Bloomberg) -- Chile identified its first omicron case in a traveler from Ghana, who tested positive in a PCR test on arrival at the airport on Nov. 25.
The patient, a foreign resident in Chile, had received two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, the Valparaiso regional secretariat of the health ministry said in a statement on Twitter.
After flying with a negative test result, he underwent a second test at the airport, in accordance with the country’s health protocols. Chile carries out genomic sequencing on positive samples from travelers, which identified the strain as omicron.
“We reiterate that the pandemic is not over, so it’s important to keep up with self-protection measures,” the regional health office said. “It’s vital, too, that people test themselves opportunely within 24 hours of any Covid-19 related symptom and that they self-isolate until given the result.”
The patient is in isolation, but remains in good health, the secretariat said. Health authorities are following up with other passengers who were seated near the first patient on his flight and will be testing them. A close contact of the patient meanwhile has been quarantined with family pending results. Any family members who haven’t already been vaccinated will be.
Chile has relatively low levels of Covid-19 infection at the moment with positivity levels below 3%. In the seven days through yesterday, it reported 717 new cases per million inhabitants. South America as a whole is enjoying a lull in pandemic. Brazil and Peru, former viral epicenters, reported fewer than 300 cases per million in the past seven days.
Chile has fully vaccinated 84% of its population, compared to 59% in the U.S.
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