Brazil sees 2 confirmed omicron cases, Latin America’s 1st

Nov 30, 2021, 2:22 PM | Updated: 8:46 pm

SAO PAULO (AP) — Health officials in Brazil have reported the country’s first confirmed cases of the omicron variant in two travelers arriving from South Africa, the first such cases in Latin America.

The Sao Paulo state health secretariat said a 41-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman are in isolation. The two had their tests taken on Nov. 25 and showed light symptoms of the disease at the time.

The secretariat statement said both travelers arrived in Brazil on Nov. 23 and took a PCR test before a trip scheduled for two days later. Their positive test results were collected at the Guarulhos international airport, outside Sao Paulo, before a return flight to South Africa.

“After the positive result, the couple was instructed to remain in isolation at home. Both are being monitored by state and municipal (authorities), as well as their respective family members,” said the Sao Paulo health secretariat, which added that neither of the two are registered in the state’s vaccination platform.

“An initial investigation did not identify them being vaccinated anywhere else,” it said.

Sao Paulo city hall’s health secretariat said the couple lives in South Africa and was visiting Brazil. It did not disclose their nationalities.

Another potential case of omicron has been under investigation by Brazilian authorities since Sunday.

The two Brazilians are the first confirmed cases in Latin America, which has suffered heavily from the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil alone has reported more than 600,000 deaths, a figure that analysts believe to be undercounted.

Brazil does not require COVID-19 vaccination from foreign travelers entering the country.

Earlier on Tuesday, Japan and France reported their first cases of the omicron variant, while new findings indicate the mutant coronavirus was already in Europe close to a week before South Africa sounded the alarm. It was last Wednesday, Nov. 24, that South African authorities reported the existence of the highly mutated virus to the World Health Organization.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine.

Brazil’s health agency Anvisa said the entry took place before Sunday’s federal government decision to block passengers arriving from South Africa. The South American country has blocked flights originating from or with stop overs in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Sao Paulo Gov. João Doria said the state’s COVID-19 scientific committee will reassess the end of the mask mandates, which was expected to come into force on Dec.11.

“We need to know the impact of this new variant” before deciding if removing masks is allowed outdoors, said Doria, who is also a presidential hopeful for next year’s elections.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has flouted health protocols since the beginning of the pandemic and remains unvaccinated, is insisting that social distancing policies should not be put back in place.

Many mayors of Brazilian cities are wondering whether they should keep scheduled end of year festivities and February’s Carnival due to fears COVID-19 infection rates could soar again.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The Twitter page of Elon Musk is seen on the screen of a computer in Sausalito, Calif., on M...
Associated Press

What if Musk loses the Twitter case but defies the court?

Twitter wants a Delaware court to order Elon Musk to buy the social media service for $44 billion, as he promised back in April. But what if a judge makes that ruling and Musk balks? The Tesla billionaire’s reputation for dismissing government pronouncements has some worried that he might flout an unfavorable ruling of the […]
26 minutes ago
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng, left, and British Prime Minister Liz Truss at t...
Associated Press

UK scraps tax cut for wealthy that sparked market turmoil

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — The British government has dropped plans to cut income tax for top earners, part of a package of unfunded cuts that sparked turmoil on financial markets and sent the pound to record lows. In a dramatic about-face, Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng said Monday that he will not scrap the top 45% […]
1 day ago
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a policy speech in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (Sad...
Associated Press

Japan’s Kishida vows to regain trust in church controversy

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that he will humbly listen to people’s “harsh voices” criticizing his governing party’s cozy ties to the ultra-conservative Unification Church and help victims of its allegedly fraudulent businesses and huge donation collection. Kishida has come under fire in a widening scandal that has exposed decades […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo of a Nobel medal displayed during a ceremony in New York....
Associated Press

Nobel panel to announce winner of medicine prize

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The winner, or winners, of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine will be announced Monday at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Among the researchers who may be honored this year are those who were instrumental in the development of the mRNA technology that went into COVID-19 vaccines, which saved millions […]
1 day ago
The Pittsburgh Steelers face the New England Patriots during an NFL football game at Acrisure Stadi...
Associated Press

Spectator at Steelers game dies after fall from escalator

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A spectator at Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets died following a fall on an escalator at Acrisure Stadium. The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety said police and emergency service personnel were alerted after a male spectator fell around 4:45 p.m., shortly after the end of New York’s […]
1 day ago
A person stands near an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities fir...
Associated Press

Asian shares mostly lower as recession fears deepen

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower on Monday after Wall Street closed out a miserable September with a loss of 9.3%, the worst monthly decline since March 2020. Tokyo rose while other regional markets declined. Shanghai was closed for China’s weeklong National Day holidays. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.1% to 26,215.79 after […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Brazil sees 2 confirmed omicron cases, Latin America’s 1st