The Omicron COVID-19 variant poses a high risk of global infection surges, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
Following is a selected country-by-country snapshot of confirmed Omicron cases and travel restrictions imposed in an attempt to slow its spread.
CONFIRMED CASES BY NATION:
Dutch health authorities said on Monday they have found another case of new Omicron among passengers arriving from South Africa, bringing the total to 14.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge had on Sunday announced 13 Omicron infections. They were among 61 passengers who were confirmed with coronavirus, out of 624 travellers who arrived in Amsterdam on two KLM flights from South Africa on Friday.
Britain reported eight more cases of Omnicron on Monday, and announced it will offer a COVID-19 booster shot to all adults in a bid to accelerate its vaccination programme. Britain as a whole has reported 11 cases of the new variant.
One case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in Sweden, the Public Health Agency said on Monday.
The case was detected in a test taken a little over a week ago from a person who had travelled from South Africa, the agency said in a statement.
Japan has confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed government sources.
Spain has detected its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a traveller coming from South Africa, El Pais newspaper reported on Monday.
The case of the new variant was sequenced by Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital, according to a tweet by its microbiology unit, adding that the patient was in fair condition.
Portugal detected 13 cases of the Omicron variant on Monday, all involving players and staff members of Lisbon soccer club Belenenses SAD after one player recently returned from South Africa, health authority DGS said.
Scotland reported six cases of Omicron on Monday, some of which were not linked to travel in southern Africa.
Two cases of Omicron were detected in the southern state of Bavaria and a suspected case was found in the west of the country, health officials said on Saturday.
Austria has identified a first case of Omicron, the health ministry of the Alpine province of Tyrol said on Monday.
The National Health Institute said a case of the new variant had been detected in Milan in a person coming from Mozambique.
A hospital in the city of Liberec in the Czech Republic says it has confirmed a case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Czech TV reports.
French authorities on Tuesday confirmed the first case of the omicron variant in the French island territory of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. Patrick Mavingui, a microbiologist at the island's research clinic for infectious diseases, said the person who has tested positive for the new variant is a 53-year-old man who had traveled to Mozambique and stopped in South Africa before returning to Reunion.
Australia said on Monday that five people arriving from southern Africa over the weekend had tested positive for the Omicron variant.
Japan said on Monday it would shut its borders to foreigners from midnight to prevent a spread of the Omicron variant there. Japanese returnees from a number of specified nations will have to quarantine in designated facilities, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters. “These are temporary, exceptional measures that we are taking for safety’s sake until there is clearer information about the Omicron variant,” Kishida said.
Israel on Saturday became the first country to shut its borders completely in response to Omicron, and said it would use counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology in order to contain the variant’s spread. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban would last 14 days.
Morocco has suspended all incoming air travel from around the world for two weeks because of the rapid spread of the new omicron variant, the government's committee in charge of monitoring COVID-19 announced Sunday
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department on Saturday advised against travel to eight southern African countries. The White House earlier said it would bar nearly all foreign nationals who have been in any of eight countries within the last 14 days from flying to the United States effective Monday.
Britain has barred entry to non-residents from 10 southern African states, and British and Irish residents arriving from those countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
India will make on-arrival COVID-19 testing mandatory for air travellers from more than a dozen countries, including South Africa and Britain where the Omicron variant has been detected, the health ministry said on Monday. The decision, effective December 1, came after a man who returned from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19, though it is not yet clear which variant of the virus he contracted.
Brazil will shut its borders to travellers arriving from six southern African countries, the chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday.
Canada is closing its borders to foreign travellers who have recently been to seven southern African nations to help stop the spread of Omicron, its health minister said on Friday.
Australia said on Monday it would delay the reopening of its international border by two weeks after reporting its first cases of the Omicron variant.
Singapore has deferred the start of vaccinated travel lanes for some Middle Eastern countries that are regarded as transit hubs for travel from countries affected by Omicron, its health ministry said.
South Korea said on Monday it has shelved plans to further relax COVID-19 restrictions due to the strain on its healthcare system from rising hospitalisation and death rates, as well as the threat posed by the new Omicron variant.
President Moon Jae-in said the crisis had deepened and called for a united response to prevent the variant from entering the country, including the mobilisation of more personnel and tightening contact tracing.
Amid the rising concerns of the new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron', Singapore on Tuesday imposed a series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and also paused the relaxing of social measures. According to 'The Straits Times,' the relaxation of social measures will be paused, and travellers entering Singapore will face stricter rules from 11.59 pm (local time) on Thursday.