Madrid confirms the first omicron case in Spain: a 51-year-old traveler from South Africa

The arriving passenger was screened with an antigen test at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) and is now in isolation.

The Community of Madrid has confirmed today the first case of a positive patient in the region with COVID-19 infected with the omicron variant. The Microbiology Service of General Gregorio Marañón Public Hospital has sequenced and confirmed this case.

The man who had been in South Africa arrived in Madrid yesterday on a flight from Amsterdam. Even though many airlines have canceled all flights to Southern Africa, Dutch national flag carrier KLM continues offering flights between the Netherlands capital and two destinations in South Africa, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.

Besides Southern Africa, where the new variant was discovered, it has been detected in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Israel, Belgium, Scotland, Portugal, England, France, Denmark, and Australia.

The discovery of the B.1.1.529 mutation occurred when sequencing the circulating coronavirus genome, a routine process in most countries since March 2020.

“When analyzing the samples collected between 14 and November 23, they detected that more than 70% of the genomes they were sequencing were different from what we already saw in other strains. In other words, this new lineage followed a high number of mutations: some are identified by being present in some of the variants that are currently circulating the world, but others are unknown”, says Dr. Francisco José Roig Vázquez, a specialist in Pulmonology of the University Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid.

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