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BUENOS AIRES: Argentina has registered its first case of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, in a traveler from South Africa, the health ministry announced.

The infected person, 38 and fully vaccinated, had travelled to the African country for work, and returned to Argentina on November 30, the ministry said in a statement late Sunday.

The traveler had tested negative for the virus before departure and on arrival in Argentina, but had another test because they had been in contact with people in South Africa since diagnosed with Covid-19.

This time, the results were positive, and genomic sequencing showed the virus to be of the Omicron variety.

The infected person, who has no symptoms, had had a previous coronavirus infection.

Four people who had been in contact with the traveler were placed in preventive isolation, even if tests have so far come back negative.

Omicron is in 38 countries, no deaths reported: WHO

The ministry urged the population to remain on high alert and continue taking preventive measures.

Two weeks after first being identified in South Africa, Omicron has now been found in about 40 countries around the world.

Argentina, a country of 45 million people, has registered more than 5.3 million coronavirus cases and over 116,600 deaths.

Over two-thirds of the population have been fully vaccinated.

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