Riyadh (Web Desk): Saudi Arabia has reported the Gulf’s first confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in a citizen returning from North Africa.
“One case of the Omicron variant has been detected in the kingdom — it was a citizen coming from a North African country,” the ministry official told the state SPA news agency.
“He has been put in isolation, as have his contacts, and the necessary health measures have been taken.”
Saudi Arabia last week halted flights from seven southern African countries, mirroring similar moves by other government, but travel links with North Africa have remained unaffected.
The kingdom had been lifting some of the remaining restrictions it imposed early in the pandemic, allowing worshippers at the Muslim holy places to resume praying shoulder to shoulder from October.
The strain, which was first announced by South Africa but has since been discovered to have been present earlier in Europe, has prompted governments around the globe to reimpose travel restrictions, despite warnings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) this could do more harm than good.