Oman reports first two cases of Omicron variant in citizens who 'returned from travel'
Oman reported its first two cases of the Omicron variant on Monday, the highly transmissible coronavirus mutation spreading rapidly across the globe.
Oman's ministry of health said the two individuals who tested positive for Omicron had "returned from travel", implying that the cases were not the result of community transmission.
The two individuals are now stable and being subject to further health checks, according to the Times of Oman.
"The Ministry announces the registration of the first two cases of the Omicron mutant variant in citizens who returned from travel," read a statement from Oman's health ministry.
They are now urging their population in Oman to follow mitigation measures to curb the spread of the variant, such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and washing hands.
Cases of Omicron in the Middle East as of December 14:
Israel (local transmission), Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Oman.
Everyone aged over 18 is also being encouraged to take up the offer of a Covid-19 booster shot available at “primary care institutions,” said local news reports.
Oman has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the Middle East and North Africa, with over 5 million doses administered, according to WHO, for a population of around 5.1 million people.
So far, Oman has reported just over 300,000 cases of Covid-19 and around 4,000 deaths, in a population of around 4 million.
This compares to over 146,000 deaths reported in the UK - where Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday the first patient had died because of the Omicron variant.
As of 9 December, 63 countries across the globe have reported a case of the Omicron variant, confirmed the WHO.
In the Middle East, incidents have been reported in Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.