Spain announced, on Monday, it detected its first case of the new Omicron strain of Covid in a man who had recently arrived from South Africa.
The regional government of Madrid said in a statement that the 51-year-old was tested when he arrived at Madrid airport on Sunday via Amsterdam and was found to be positive.
“The patient has light symptoms and is undergoing quarantine,” the statement added.
Earlier on Monday, Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon Hospital tweeted that its microbiology service had detected the first case of the Omicron variant in Spain, without giving further details.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new B.1.1.529 strain of COVID-19 to be a variant of concern, renaming it Omicron.
“Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology… the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern, named Omicron,” the U.N. health agency said in a statement.
It pointed out that a strain of coronavirus recently discovered by South African researchers is a variant of concern, posing a threat that could confound countries’ efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19.