HAMILTON, Bermuda — Bermuda has confirmed its first case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has already been detected in more than 30 countries on six continents.
But health officials here have warned residents against panicking.
Health Minister Kim Wilson said that the active case — one of 31 — came in from overseas and all close contacts were in quarantine.
The case was identified on Sunday from an arrival test. But she did not say where the person came from. Test results on close contacts have all come back clear for the coronavirus so far.
Wilson said genome sequencing was being carried out on all of 31 active cases.
“The Omicron variant was identified quickly, and in our view, there is no need to panic,” said Wilson.
The Omicron was among nine new COVID-19 cases detected in the latest batch of 6,109 test results.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Ayo Oyinloye said Omicron had been classified as a variant of concern and early evidence said it was more transmissible than the Delta strain.
“At this stage most of the cases that have been seen so far have had mild symptoms and there has not yet been any deaths recorded from this as of yesterday,” he said, adding “it is very early days though as much of the information we have is from South Africa, where Delta has not been the dominant strain.”
Wilson said that none of the 31 active cases is in hospital — 26 came in from overseas, three are under investigation and two are classed as on-island transmissions.
Wilson said it was too early in the new strain to make any announcements on potential restrictions or advice for gatherings over the Christmas holidays.
She said 70.3 per cent of the population have received two vaccine jabs while 24.1 per cent have received a booster shot.
A total of 5,760 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed on the island with 106 people dying from the virus.