Noguchi Institute detects 34 cases of Omicron Variant among returning travellers

By Antionette Abbah

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research says it has detected 34 cases of the Omicron Covid-19 Variant from some 120 samples of returning travellers into Ghana.

According to the Institute, the number represents a 28 % positive rate for the samples collected between November 21 and 25, this year at the Kotoka International Airport.

With no records of a community spread of the new variant in the country, the Noguchi Institute in a statement on its Twitter page noted that these are the first imported cases of the new variant into Ghana.

The Institute added that it is closely monitoring its potential spread in the local population and encouraged the general public to continue adhering to the Covid-19 prevention protocols.

A new heavily mutated version of the SARS-CoV 2 has recently been found as the latest variant of the virus. The variant which is known as Omicron was firstly confirmed in South Africa.

The World Health Organisation had said it is not yet clear whether infection by Omicron causes more severe illness compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.

Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron.

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