BREAKING: Two cases of Omicron variant detected in UK 8 months ago

BREAKING: Two cases of Omicron variant detected in UK

The world is scrambling to contain the new Omicron variant

Two cases of the new Omicron Covid variant have been detected in the UK, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Saturday.

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Javid said two individuals were now self-isolating and there would be targeted testing in areas where the cases were discovered, those being Chelmsford and Nottingham.

Read more: World races to contain new Covid variant now officially named Omicron

"We have been made aware by @UKHSA of two UK cases of the Omicron variant. The two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa," the Health Secretary wrote on Twitter.

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"These individuals are self-isolating with their households while further testing and contact tracing is underway.

"As a precaution we are rolling out additional targeted testing in the affected areas - Nottingham and Chelmsford - and sequencing all positive cases.

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"This is a fast-moving situation and we are taking decisive steps to protect public health."

Javid said Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola would be added to the travel red list, effective 4am Sunday.

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"If you have returned from there in the last 10 days you must isolate and get PCR tests," Javid said, adding that if people are "eligible for your booster jab - now is the time to get it".

On Friday, six countries were added to the UK's red list after the discovery of Omicron - which was first detected in South Africa on 24 November - but is now in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, as well as the UK.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Omicron had many mutations - "some of which are concerning" - and early evidence suggested an increased reinfection risk. It had already been labelled the "worst one we've seen" and Transport Secretary Grant Schnapps said Friday that it had the potential to "defeat the jab".

Hundreds of passengers arriving in Amsterdam from South Africa were tested for the new variant, the BBC reported, with 61 people on two KLM flights testing positive for Covid. They have been quarantined at a hotel near the airport while they have further tests, Dutch officials said.

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