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First U.S. case of omicron variant detected in California, source says

WASHINGTON (AP) – A person in California has become the first in the United States to have an identified case of the omicron variant of COVID-19, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Wednesday. It comes as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the new strain of the virus.

The Biden administration decided late last month to restrict travel from southern Africa, where the variant was first identified and had spread. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other countries. The official was unable to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was set to tighten US testing rules for travelers from overseas, including requiring all travelers to be tested within one day of boarding a flight to the states -United, regardless of their vaccination status. He was also considering imposing post-arrival testing.

Officials said the measures would only “buy time” for the country to learn more about the new variant and take appropriate precautions, but given its transmissibility, its arrival in the United States was inevitable.


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