Chile says detects first case of Omicron variant of the coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A sign reading "Mandatory control" is seen at a sanitary authority office at the international passenger arrivals area in the International Airport of Santiago, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Chile, December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

SANTIAGO (Reuters) -Chilean health authorities reported on Saturday that they detected the first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a person who had arrived in the copper-producing South American country from Africa.

The foreign patient residing in Chile arrived in the country on Nov. 25 from Ghana with a recently-taken negative COVID-19 test. But a subsequent test taken upon arrival in Chile was positive and then sequenced.

“The passenger, who had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, is currently in good health and fulfilling his isolation,” the secretary of health of the Valparaiso region in Chile said in a statement.

Chile joins Brazil and Mexico on the list of Latin American countries with cases of the variant detected. Japan also found the variant in a passenger arriving from Peru.

Chile has had a decrease in infections in recent weeks thanks to its massive vaccination program.

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