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November 28, 2021

A sequence attributable to the Omicron variant has been identified in a patient residing in Campania. The genome was sequenced at the Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, Virology and Bioemergency Diagnostics of the Sacco Hospital in Milan from a positive sample of a man, residing in Campania, who returned in recent days from Mozambique. The professional, from Caserta, an employee of an international company, is vaccinated with two doses. Qualified sources of the Campania health care point out that the man is paucisymptomatic and that his conditions at the moment do not cause any concern. 

The epidemiological investigations were carried out by Ats Milano and the Local Health Authority under the responsibility of the Campania Region. Sequences have already been scheduled on the samples of the patient's five family contacts who are currently in isolation, but without symptoms. The sample is in the phase of further confirmation to have the definitive assignment of the lineage which for this variant of concern is B.1.1.529. The ability to quickly identify the new sequence and immediately start contact tracing activities was obtained thanks to the presence of alerts on the Icogen platform which immediately recognized the presence of some key mutations, demonstrating the efficiency of the Italian sequencing network.Already yesterday the Ministry of Health had issued an information note to the Regions / PA following a coordinated meeting together with the Higher Institute of Health to strengthen the tracking methods.

De Luca: maximum control by the police We need

"maximum control by the police and municipal police" on compliance with the regional ordinance which prescribes the use of a mask in closed places and also outdoors where spacing is not guaranteed. This was underlined by the governor of Campania Vincenzo De Luca after the news of the traveler returning from southern Africa. "This episode too - recalls De Luca - invites us once again to complete the vaccination cycle and to have behaviors inspired by the utmost prudence, starting with the use of the mask which in Campania - it is right to remember - has always been mandatory indoors and outdoors where distance is not guaranteed ".

Farnesina: assistance to compatriots in Africa after flight stops

The Farnesina, through the Crisis Unit and the Embassies and consulates on site, is carefully monitoring the effects of the recent ordinance of the Ministry of Health which imposed travel restrictions from South Africa and from other countries of the African southern region. The Embassies involved, in conjunction with the Crisis Unit, quickly took action to collect any reports from compatriots and assist them in the light of the changed scenario of these hours.

The Ministry of Health: "Strengthening tracing"

Against the new Omicron variant it is necessary "to strengthen and monitor the tracing and sequencing activities in the case of travelers from countries with diffusion of this variant and their contacts". This is the recommendation of the Ministry of Health to the Regions contained in the circular published today signed by the Director General of Prevention Gianni Rezza, in which it also asks "in cases of outbreaks characterized by a rapid and anomalous increase in cases, to promptly and scrupulously apply the measures quarantine and isolation already foreseen following the spread of the Delta variant. 

The new variant B.1.1.529 of the Covid-19 virus, first detected in South Africa, was classified on Friday as "worrying" by the World Health Organization (WHO), and nicknamed "Omicron". It will take "a few weeks" to understand the level of transmissibility and virulence, but in the meantime the countries are running for cover with a strengthening of anti-Covid measures and in many cases with the stop to flights from countries at risk. The ECDC has estimated the risk associated with the variant for the EU "from high to very high".

Lazio Region asks for lists of passengers entered from red areas

"We have requested the Ministry of Health to have the names of the boarding lists of residents of Lazio who have entered Italy through the international airport of Fiumicino in the last 15 days from the restricted areas available. This would allow us to subject these people to screening through the molecular swabs and our mobile units are ready. "

This was declared by the Councilor for Health of the Lazio Region, Alessio D'Amato.

Zingaretti: Border controls "

" Regarding the Omicron variant, I recommend immediate border control measures and to evaluate further choices to contain the flows of entry to Italy. "Thus the president of the Lazio Region, Nicola Zingaretti, in a tweet.