RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE confirmed on Wednesday their first cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant.
A passenger coming from a north African country was identified as the Kingdom's first case while Emirates News Agency said that a woman arriving in the UAE from an African country through an Arab state was the country's first case.
The woman is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and is isolating, WAM reported. People she has been in contact with are also isolating and she is not exhibiting any symptoms.
Saudi Press Agency said that the Kingdom's first case was detected in a Saudi passenger and that he was isolating along with those who had been in contact with him.
“An epidemiological investigation has started and the case was sent to quarantine, where accredited health procedures were followed,” SPA said.
A health official from Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has called on people to get both doses of a COVID-19 jab and for travelers to adhere to quarantine and testing protocols upon their arrival.
The spread of the latest variant comes as Saudi Arabia’s ban on direct travel from several countries ended, with the Kingdom continuing to relax pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Travelers from six countries — India, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil and Vietnam — can now arrive in the Kingdom without having to spend 14 days outside those countries before entering Saudi Arabia.