first cases of the Omicron variant in Senegal

Senegal has detected its first three cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in travelers preparing to travel to African countries, research laboratories have announced.

A first case was detected on Friday, December 3 in a 58-year-old man who arrived in Senegal on November 22 by a flight from a country in the sub-region, according to a statement released on Saturday evening by the Institute for Health Research , epidemiological surveillance and training (Iressef).

Read also Nigeria, Ghana detect first cases of Omicron variant

The man had been vaccinated on April 13 with AstraZeneca and on June 25 with Pfizer, the institute said. “He stayed in Dakar in a hotel and took part in a demonstration which brought together nearly 300 people of several nationalities. The demonstration took place from November 24 to 25 », adds the press release.

The research institute specifies that the case was isolated in quarantine and followed in a specialized center. “As of Saturday, December 4, he has no symptoms”, adds the institute. The Institut Pasteur in Dakar, for its part, announced in a press release on Sunday December 5 that it had identified two other cases of infection with the Omicron variant.

Low vaccination rate

One is a 28-year-old man taken on November 23 in Dakar and on his way to a West African country. The other is a 29-year-old woman who was in a hotel in Dakar on her way to southern Africa, he said. Senegal has recorded a total of 74,024 cases of Covid-19 and 1,186 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The government launched a vaccination campaign in February, but the vaccination rate is low due in particular to the reluctance of the populations. So far, 1,328,633 people have been vaccinated out of a population of some 17 million.

Read also Omicron variant: contaminations soar in South Africa

Before Senegal, Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, Ghana and Botswana announced their first cases of this variant discovered at the end of November in South Africa. The announcement of the discovery of the Omicron variant comes on the eve of a visit by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to Dakar, the last stop of a West African tour that took him to Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and in Ghana.

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The World with AFP