Taiwan has recorded its first three cases of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, health officials informed on Saturday. According to AP, while the first case of the Omicron strain was detected in a passenger who recently travelled to the southern African country of Eswatini, the other two cases were from the United Kingdom and the United States. Overall, Taiwan on Saturday reported 10 new coronavirus cases, all of which were identified entering from abroad.
The Taiwanese health officials said that the first case of the new COVID strain was detected in a Taiwanese woman in her 30s who returned to the island on December 8. For now, she is under quarantine in a hospital. The Central Epidemic Command Centre, which is in charge of the island’s pandemic response, further also informed that the passenger who sat near the woman on the plane has tested negative so far.
It is to mention that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan has a strict two-week quarantine on arrival. The self-ruling island has also sealed its borders off to all but residents and citizens, with exceptions. According to AP, there is little community transmission within its borders of the disease and there have also been few restrictions on movement internally in recent months. Face covering is nearly universal. Taiwan has reported 16,731 COVID-19 cases in total and 848 deaths.
Meanwhile, it is to mention that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the Omicron variant as a ‘Variant of Concern’. Scientists are still working to determine how the new strain may compare with the predominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity. Moreover, vaccines’ accurate effectiveness against severe disease from Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus is not yet known but experts believe that a booster is expected to give significantly higher protection against symptomatic disease.