Queensland [Australia], December 8 (ANI/Sputnik): A new version of the Omicron coronavirus strain has been detected in Australia's Queensland, health authorities said on Wednesday.
"One gentleman the other day has been identified as having Omicron-like ... That is the new lineage and name that will be given to this variant that has been identified and confirmed by the international committee," Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said.
One of the two new Queensland cases is a man who has recently returned from South Africa. The genetic structure of the virus that infected him was found different from the original Omicron variant. D'Ath said that Australia's forensic scientists have now reclassified the Omicron strain into two lineages, both of which can be found in Queensland.
"We now have Omicron and Omicron-like, it's a reminder to us all that as we open our borders this doesn't mean that the COVID journey has finished, in many ways the COVID journey is just starting," Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said.
Omicron was first detected in South Africa in late November. The World Health Organization designated it a "variant of concern" due to exceptionally high number of mutations. Despite the new wave of travel bans on Africa, the new variant has since been detected in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. (ANI/Sputnik)