Omicron coronavirus variant puts world on edge


Spain became the latest country to announce “flight restrictions” from southern African nations over the Omicron coronavirus variant, the government’s chief spokeswoman, Isabel Rodríguez, said at a news conference in Madrid Tuesday. 

On Monday, Spain had announced that passengers from seven African countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique – would have to quarantine for 10 days. The restrictions announced today go one step further, banning flights from the seven African nations, with some exceptions for flights repatriating citizens or residents.

“These are preventative measures,” Rodríguez said. 

The flight restrictions will be in effect from Dec. 2 until Dec.15, Rodríguez added.

Spain on Monday also confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant, in “a 51-year-old man who returned from South Africa on Nov. 28, with a layover in Amsterdam,” a Madrid regional government statement said. 

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias said in a SER radio interview Tuesday that authorities were awaiting test results on a couple who arrived at Barcelona’s airport on Monday, to determine if they have the Omicron variant, or not. 

CNN’s Claudia Rebaza, Mia Alberti and Pau Mosquera contributed reporting to this post.


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