As the world lives in the uncertainty of another Covid-19 wave, courtesy of super-variant Omicron, various countries are closing borders and banning international flights. The initial cases of Omicron, which is said to be the most advanced form of the virus with over more than 30 mutations in Spike Protein, were reported in South Africa and it seems it is spreading in other countries rapidly. The Portuguese Football team members were hit with 13 cases of Omicron infection after a player returned from South Africa 10 days ago.
According to the DailyMail, a total of 13 members of the Lisbon football club, Belenenses, including staff and players tested positive with the new variant on Monday, November 22. The cases surfaced after defender Cafu Phete traveled to South Africa to play for the national team and tested positive after returning 10 days ago. Team management noted that 44 players and staff are being kept in isolation as they are awaiting test results.
The Omicron variant has been declared a 'variant of concern' by the WHO in the wake of its very high likelihood of spreading in other countries rapidly. Studies suggest that the new variant has high transmission rates and several of its mutations even have the ability to evade vaccine protection.
League management allowed the match to go on
Belenenses played against Benfica on Saturday, November 27 with only nine players as the rest were quarantined. Both the teams said the match should have been postponed in the wake of 13 members of Belenenses testing positive for the new variant of Coronavirus but the league management and health officials allowed it to go ahead. The game, however, was abandoned after halftime.
Countries are shutting international borders
Japan closed its international borders on Monday by banning all foreign citizens from arriving. Japanese returning from foreign countries are told to quarantine. Australia, on the other hand, postponed opening its borders to visa holders and skilled workers, which was supposed to happen from December 1. The Philippines informed that they are no longer allowing fully vaccinated tourists into the country over fears of importing the new variant as most of its population is unvaccinated.
Symptoms of Omicron variant
According to the South African doctor, Angelique Coetzee, who treated the first known cases of Omicron, the symptoms of the same seem milder than that of the Delta variant. However, the most common symptoms of the Omicron variant include extreme fatigue, increased heart rate, and a scratchy throat.