AP

Brazil confirms 3rd omicron case, considers new measures

Dec 1, 2021, 11:55 AM | Updated: 1:02 pm

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, W...

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil joined the widening circle of countries to report cases of the omicron variant. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Health officials on Wednesday confirmed Brazil’s third known case of the omicron coronavirus variant as officials examined possible new measures to contain the virus, such as requiring proof of vaccination or even possibly scrapping Carnival celebrations if conditions grow worse.

A passenger from Ethiopia tested positive for Covid-19 upon landing in Sao Paulo on Nov. 27, the state’s health secretariat said in a statement. The 29 year-old man is vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer shot and is in good health, officials said.

The news came a day after Brazilian health officials reported confirmed cases of the omicron variant in two travelers arriving from South Africa — the first such cases in Latin America.

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.

The number of daily deaths and new infections from the virus are currently low and vaccination coverage is higher than in many countries — including the United States. But Brazil has suffered heavily from the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 610,000 deaths, second only to the U.S.

Brazilian mayors and governors, in charge of implementing local measures to rein in COVID-19, were closely watching the situation unfold, waiting for more information on the new variant.

In Rio de Janeiro, where New Yea’s Eve and Carnival usually attract millions of visitors each, Mayor Eduardo Paes said both events were still scheduled, but warned they would only go forward if it is safe to organize them.

“I want to remind you that planning an event does not mean that it will necessarily take place. After all, it is entirely possible to cancel what was planned,” Paes said Tuesday in a recorded statement.

Sao Paulo Gov. João Doria also said Tuesday the state’s COVID-19 scientific committee will reassess the scheduled Dec. 11 end of mask mandates.

The federal government said Tuesday it needed “further clarification” on the epidemiological situation in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia before deciding whether to suspend flights from these countries, as recommended by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency, known as Anvisa.

The South American country has already blocked flights originating from or with stopovers in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Rodrigo Cruz, the Health Ministry’s number two, said on Wednesday the nation was also debating whether to require vaccine certificates from arriving passengers. Brazil does not currently require COVID-19 vaccination from foreign travelers entering the country.

In a technical note sent to the government on Nov. 12, Anvisa asked the government to consider such a step, citing a 4.6% increase in tourism activities in October and upcoming end-of-year celebrations.

The lack of vaccine requirement “may allow Brazil to become one of the countries of choice for unvaccinated tourists and travelers, which is undesirable from the point of view of the risk that this group represents for the Brazilian population,” Anvisa said.

Other suspicious cases are being investigated, including in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states, with a final number expected to be released later Wednesday, Health Ministry said.

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

AP

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

1 day ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

1 day ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

2 days ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

3 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Brazil confirms 3rd omicron case, considers new measures