Czech authorities dealing with first case of Omicron strain

The Czech authorities are dealing with what is believed to be the country's first case of the African strain of the coronavirus the B.1.1.529, also known as Omicron.

The suspected sample, which is undergoing further tests for final confirmation, is that of a woman from Liberec who recently returned from Namibia. The woman’s contacts are being traced. Although confirmation is expected from the National Reference Laboratory, previous tests suggest there is a 90 percent probability that the sample is the Omicron strain.

In response to the news, Switzerland has tightened travel restrictions for people travelling from the Czech Republic. In addition to a negative PCR test they will have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic has imposed travel restrictions on people returning from a number of southern African nations. Travellers who spent more than 12 hours in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia or Mozambique in the past 14 days will have to quarantine for 10 days upon entry to the Czech Republic. The restriction is valid for citizens from EU member states as well. Citizens from third countries who do not have long term residence in the Czech Republic will not be allowed entry.