Viktor Liashko, the Minister of Health, reported that as of today, the coronavirus variant Omicron had not been recorded in Ukraine. He stated this during an online briefing.
The Minister noted that the emergence of new dangerous strains is a possible consequence of the uneven spreading and doubts about vaccination in the world.
"Most of the new strains are emerging in low-income countries with low vaccination coverage. The Republic of South Africa is the most capable of sequencing among the neighboring countries, but the new strain developed in all neighboring, less affluent countries," Liashko said.
According to the Minister, it is not yet known whether Omicron is causing a more severe course of the disease, but hospitalizations have increased in South Africa. This may be due to an increase in the total number of infected people and not be the result of infection with the Omicron variant.
Liashko noted that it takes time to understand the features of the disease course after infection with Omicron—from several days to several weeks.
"Will this strain affect the diagnosis of COVID-19? Currently, Ukraine has a system for monitoring the spread of COVID-19 strains. At the regional level, there is a certain reserve of PCR test systems for the detection of the Delta variant. The government also decided to allocate an additional 67 million UAH for purchasing an additional number of such test systems. All not "Delta"—samples will be subject to mandatory genome-wide sequencing at the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health," Liashko explained.
Ukrainians who were in countries where the Omicron strain was found must self-isolate upon returning to Ukraine. In particular, all travelers who have spent more than 7 days in the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Eswatina, and the Republic of Mozambique in the last 14 days, have to self-isolate for 14-day.
Context. For the first time, the emergence of a new coronavirus variant Omicron was reported by the countries of South Africa on November 24.