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USA records its first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

A person in California vaccinated against COVID-19 became the first in the U.S. to have an identified case of the omicron Covid-19  variant. The White House announced his positive news as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the new virus strain. Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters the person was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29. Fauci said the person took the vaccine but had not received a booster shot and was experiencing mild symptoms. 

The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from Southern Africa where the variant was first identified and had been widespread. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other nations. He said the person was improving and added, “I think what’s happening now is another example of why it’s important for people to get vaccinated. But also boosting. Boosting is very important.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking steps to tighten U.S. testing rules for travelers from overseas to curb the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.  

Officials said they had contacted everyone who had close contact with the person and they had all tested negative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking steps to tighten U.S. testing rules for travelers from overseas to curb the spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant. , including requiring a test for all travelers within a day of boarding a flight to the U.S. regardless of vaccination status. It was also considering mandating post-arrival testing. 

Officials said those measures would only “buy time” for the country to learn more about the new variant and to take appropriate precautions, but that given its transmissibility its arrival in the U.S. was inevitable. Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious than previous strains, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine. Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said. Further, he said, more would be known about the omicron strain in two to four weeks as scientists grow and test lab samples of the virus.  

USA records its first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

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