Brazilian Health authorities have reported Wednesday cases of the Omicron variant of SARS-Cov-2 have been detected in several places nationwide with three confirmed patients in São Paulo and many other suspected in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.
The possibility that the Omicron variant has begun to disperse through that metropolis of 12 million inhabitants is not ruled out, said São Paulo City Health Secretary Edson Aparecido, as two local hospitals were prepared to receive only patients with this particular strain of coronavirus.
Following the first two detections of a couple who flew back to South Africa before the international alert on Omicron had been issued, a third case was reported Wednesday: a 29-year-old man who arrived at São Paulo International Airport from Ethiopia last Saturday. The patient has been said to be in good condition without symptoms. He had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and is isolated at his home in the Guarulhos area, in the metropolitan area of São Paulo.
São Paulo State Health Secretary Jean Gorinchteyn explained the patient's condition was quite mild,” which could be explained by the fact that he was vaccinated as were all of his relatives, none of whom has tested positive so far.
Authorities at various levels also announced Wednesday that restrictions imposed as a first measure when the existence of Omicron was reported could start to be lifted as early as next week. Since last Monday, and on the recommendation of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), the Brazilian government has not authorized the arrival of flights from 6 African countries. Anvisa also proposed to the government that vaccination be required for travelers from abroad, which President Jair Bolsonaro opposes.
Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro's City Council has reported a woman living in the southern area was infected with what could be Omicron. The patient is completely asymptomatic, she tested positive on November 29 and on the 30th we collected a sample and sent it today to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation to verify if it is the Omicron variant, City Health Secretary Daniel Solanz explained.
Rio has thus become the third city in the country with people under observation, together with Brasilia and Belo Horizonte. The only confiormed cases were in São Paulo. Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes Wednesday said he would await the epidemiological bulletins to decide on further measures against against Omicron and asked people not to panic in the meantime. Suspending Rio's traditional carnival celebrations is not yet on his agenda.
Nevertheless, Brasilia Governor Ibaneis Rocha decided to cancel the New Year's Eve celebrations in the light of Omicron's arrival.