Chilean health authorities Thursday confirmed three cases of the Omicron strain had been detected nationwide while four other people were being tested for that particular variant of the coronavirus.
The first case in the country was spotted last Friday in a person who had arrived from Africa. A second case was confirmed Tuesday. It was an unvaccinated close contact.
So far, 18 close contacts of the second case with the Omicron variant have been investigated and are being studied. Of these, 4 people have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The results of the genomic sequencing of the Institute of Public Health are awaited, said Alejandra Pizarro, head of the Health Ministry's Department of Epidemiology.
Pizarro also explained the protocol for the Omicron variant consisted on expanding the epidemiological investigation, making it more exhaustive and with a more sensitive definition of close contact. For example, it is considered a close contact of an Omicron case, any person who has been more than 15 minutes face to face with those infected, despite wearing a mask.
Regarding COVID-19, 1,793 new cases were reported that in the last 24 hours for a total of 1,778,370 infections nationwide, of whom 1,724,174 have fully recovered. In addition to that, there were 59 deaths reported in the last 24 hours from causes associated with covid-19, thus rasing the total number to 38,600. To date, 688 people are hospitalized in Intensive Care Units, of which 596 are on mechanical ventilation support.
Chile is carrying out one of the most prolific vaccination campaigns, which includes children from age 3. To date, 13,894,894 people have completed their vaccination schedule, that is 91.4% of the target population over 18 years of age, while 9,211,910 people have already received a booster dose.