New Covid-19 variant Omicron cases, travel updates from around the world

By Fernando Alfonso III, Mike Hayes and Helen Regan, CNN

Updated 0502 GMT (1302 HKT) November 29, 2021
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10:27 a.m. ET, November 28, 2021

Germany confirms third case of Omicron variant

From CNN’s Fred Pleitgen and Martin Goillandeau

A third case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant has been detected in Germany.

The latest case was detected in the central German state of Hesse. The previous two were detected in Munich, Bavaria.

"The sequencing has confirmed the result — the suspected case announced yesterday morning is the Omicron variant," Hesse's Minister of State for Social Affairs and Integration Kai Klose tweeted.

The Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration said in a statement the patient entered Germany via Frankfurt Airport from South Africa on Nov. 21.

“The person is fully vaccinated. She had developed symptoms over the week and then had a test. Then she was isolated at home, ” Klose said in the statement.

The Health Ministry told CNN on the phone the passenger developed symptoms a few days after she landed in Germany.


8:59 a.m. ET, November 28, 2021

Biden restricts travel from South Africa and 7 other countries starting Monday

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Travelers queue at a check-in counter at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27.
Travelers queue at a check-in counter at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27. (Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden announced Friday the US will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday as a new coronavirus variant has emerged.

Acting on advice from the nation's top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

Biden on Friday night signed the official proclamation restricting the travel of those "physically present" in the countries during the "14-day period preceding their entry, or attempted entry into the United States."

The proclamation includes a list of those exempted from the new restrictions, including US citizens, lawful permanent residents and noncitizens who are the spouses of citizens or permanent residents.

It says it will remain in effect until terminated by the President and will not apply to any flights scheduled to arrive in the US that depart prior to 12:01 a.m. EST on Monday.

The decision to restrict travel comes as the federal government is still attempting to learn more about the new variant, named Omicron. They need to see more sequencing, but after discussing what they've seen so far, officials decided to halt travel from these other countries out of concern about what they don't yet know.

Biden was briefed Friday on the new coronavirus variant circulating in southern Africa, he said in the announcement.

Read more here.

8:56 a.m. ET, November 28, 2021

Denmark confirms 2 cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston in London

Denmark has confirmed two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, on passengers arriving by plane from South Africa, the Danish State Serum Institute told CNN on Sunday. 

Both passengers are in isolation in Denmark, and their close contacts have also been advised to isolate, according to the Serum Institute.

It’s unclear if those passengers are symptomatic, were vaccinated and underwent testing prior to boarding.

9:02 a.m. ET, November 28, 2021

Omicron variant found in 13 passengers tested at Amsterdam airport Friday, Dutch authorities say

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

Red Cross workers transport passengers infected with coronavirus returning from South Africa for quarantine at a hotel in Schiphol, Netherlands, on November 27.
Red Cross workers transport passengers infected with coronavirus returning from South Africa for quarantine at a hotel in Schiphol, Netherlands, on November 27. (Laurens Bosch/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Dutch health authorities said that the Omicron variant had been identified in at least 13 people who got tested at Amsterdam Schiphol airport after landing from South Africa on Friday.

Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said in a statement published Sunday that the variant had been detected through the sequencing of the 61 positive Covid-19 results obtained by local health authorities at the airport on Friday.

It added that the sequencing “had not been entirely completed” and that it was “possible that the new variant will be found in more test samples.”

statement posted Saturday by RIVM said that Omicron had been “presumably found” in a number of people tested at the airport on Friday morning.

A total of 624 passengers from two flights returning from South Africa were tested by GGD Kennemerland (the municipal health service responsible for the Amsterdam Schiphol airport) upon arrival, GGD said Friday.

Some context: The Netherlands put in place a flight ban on Friday on several countries of Southern Africa. Flights may continue if they carry Dutch citizens and/or travelers with an EU or Schengen-area passport.

Those citizens can enter the Netherlands with a negative PCR test result taken in the past 24 hours and have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, or for five days if they show a negative test result, per a notice from the Dutch government’s website.

The two flights that landed on Friday morning at Amsterdam Schiphol airport had left South Africa before the flight ban took effect at 12 p.m. Dutch time. Dutch authorities said that “passengers of the flights that were already en route to the Netherlands before the flight ban came into effect will do a PCR test after landing and go into quarantine.”



8:03 a.m. ET, November 28, 2021

Italy confirms first case of Omicron Covid-19 variant in a traveler coming from Mozambique

From CNN's Valentina Di Donato

Italian authorities have identified the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the country, Italy's health ministry said in a statement released Saturday. 

The one case, identified in the southwestern region of Campania, is a passenger who arrived from Mozambique, the statement said, but without disclosing the date of the passenger's arrival or nationality.

The genomic testing was done in Milan, the statement added

Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa.