Friday, January 21

Omicron variant arrives in Mexico, the second Latin American country to register a case

Mexico became the second country in Latin America in registering a case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, by reporting the presence of the strain in a person from South Africa.

As reported by the Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell on Twitter, the infected is 51 years old and is admitted to a hospital in the capital with mild symptoms. Later, health authorities detailed that the people who had contact with him do not register symptoms or positivity for COVID-19.

López-Gatell explained that since November 26, when the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized omicron as a “variant of concern,” the Mexican authorities established a virological surveillance protocol that early identifies COVID-19 cases in people arriving from any country.

“Closing borders and blocking people or goods are not useful measures to contain the variants,” added the undersecretary. Throughout the pandemic, the Mexican government has refused to close borders or restrict flights. With almost 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, Mexico is the fourth country in the world most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the announcement, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged that a suspicious case was about to be confirmed, although he asked the population not to be alarmed. “One of the things that this variant has, so far, is that it is not harmful, it is not more dangerous than the other variants,” he said.

Brazil this week became the first country in Latin America to register cases of the omicron variant, which has already been presented in Canada and the United States, neighbors of Mexico.

Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, told Reuters on Friday that while the new strain appeared to be highly transmissible, the correct response was to be prepared, be cautious and not panic.

The WHO has urged countries to increase health care capacity and vaccinate their population to fight the rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. Despite being the first country in the region to start vaccinating its population against COVID-19, Mexico has lagged behind and, to date, has vaccinated 50% of its population over 18 years of age with a full schedule .

Voice of america