Iran reports first case of Omicron coronavirus variant

Iran registered its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 on Sunday as health authorities convened for an emergency meeting to decide on an approach to address the new global threat.

20 December 2021
ID : 33350
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Iran registered its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 on Sunday as health authorities convened for an emergency meeting to decide on an approach to address the new global threat.

Iranian women wear protective face masks at the Tajrish Bazaar market in the capital Tehran. Photo: AFP

Iran registered its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 on Sunday as health authorities convened for an emergency meeting to decide on an approach to address the new global threat.  

The infection was discovered in a resident of Tehran who had recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates, IRNA reported.

Deputy Health Minister Kamal Heydari said in televised remarks, “The positive case was a middle-aged man… Measures were taken to quarantine him and those in close contact with him.”

Two other patients suspected of having contracted the variant have also been isolated until test results come out. 

The Omicron variant, formally known as B.1.1.529, was reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa on November 24. It has since spread to over 89 countries around the world.

The variant has around 50 mutations compared to the original virus which emerged in Wuhan China, with 30 of the mutations in the outer spike protein that can help the variant evade antibodies.

The mutations have made Omicron extremely contagious. The WHO announced on Thursday that the number of Omicron cases are doubling every three days. 

Many European nations have returned to a full lockdown to curb the virus. A member of the national Covid-19 science committee, Payam Tabarsi, said Iran only has 17 days to tackle the mutation. 

“We might be dealing with another wave, driven by Omicron, in two to three weeks,” Tabarsi said. 

Iran has been closely monitoring borders to prevent the arrival of Omicron for the past three weeks but experts had suggested that it was only a matter of time before the variant would spread inside the country.

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