Omicron Scare: China Detects First Case Of Latest ‘highly Mutated’ B.1.1.529 Strain

republicworld– China’s Health Commission officials have detected the first case of the Omicron B.1.1.529 variant of concern case in the port city of Tianjin, state-affiliated media CGTN reported on December 13, Monday. The said patient is a Chinese national who recently returned from overseas travel into the country on December 9. The patient is currently under isolation and is being inspected while the officials have launched contact tracing, according to the newspaper.

Taking to its official Twitter handle, the Chinese state-affiliated media CGTN informed that the first Omicron case was detected in the country in an overseas traveller who returned to North China’s Tianjin. “Chinese mainland on Monday detected its first Omicron variant of COVID-19 in a person who came from overseas in N. China’s Tianjin,” CGTN tweeted.

China’s health authorities earlier this week had stressed that they were ready to rapidly identify the new COVID-19 variant Omicron if it reaches Beijing, SCMP reported, citing a health official source. “We have established the testing capacity for mutant strains to prevent and control Omicron,” Yang Peng, an official at the Beijing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention told the Chinese media outlet.

With Omicron spreading across several countries of the world, especially in the UK, the new strain will pose a new threat to the People’s Republic of China’s controversial zero-COVID-19 policy. The officials had told the newspaper that there was a high chance that the variant would be introduced to China, as the WHO noted its high transmissibility compared with the Delta strain.

WHO warned Omicron will spread faster than Delta, overall risk ‘very high’

In a new document outlining the virulence and transmissibility of the Omicron B.1.1.529 ‘highly divergent’ COVID-19 Variant of Concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Omicron strain appears to have a growth advantage and will spread at a much faster rate than the hypervirulent Delta strain. ”Omicron is spreading faster than the Delta variant in South Africa where Delta circulation was low, but also appears to spread more quickly than the Delta variant in other countries where the incidence of Delta is high, such as in the United Kingdom,” WHO cautioned in a report documented by the Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution.