The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed in its latest update that as of 14 December, an additional 441 cases of COVID-19 Omicron have been confirmed within the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).
Although the Omicron cases reported during the initial phases were primarily related to travel, the ECDC has clarified that most of them are now reported to have been acquired within the EU/EEA, TheSchengen.com reports.
This indicates that the new variant is now being traded locally rather than from other countries.
“Although initially reported cases were related to travel, an increasing number of cases acquired within the EU/EEA, including as part of clusters and outbreaks, are now reported, with cases also being detected. in representative surveillance systems,” the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
To support this statement, a preliminary analysis of primary Omicron cases reported to the European Surveillance System (TESSy) indicates that travel-related cases represented only 13 percent (22 cases) of the 411 additional cases recently reported.
On the other hand, TESSy revealed that 70 percent (121 cases) were locally obtained, including 45 percent (78 cases) sampled as part of local investigations into the outbreak.
The list of EU/EEA countries that have reported Omicron cases without an epidemiological link to travel includes Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Spain, Sweden and Iceland. These data suggest that undetected community transmission of the Omicron variant may still persist in the EU/EEA.
Despite the fact that the Omicron variant has been shown to be more transmissible than the Delta variant, all cases in the EU/EEA for which risk information is available have shown the new variant to be either asymptomatic or mild.
Therefore, due to the moderation of Omicron, no deaths associated with Omicron have been reported in the EU/EEA to date.
“These data should be evaluated with caution, as the number of confirmed cases is too low to understand whether the clinical spectrum of Omicron’s disease differs from previously detected variants,” the ECDC explained.
As of 14 December, a total of 2,127 Omicron cases have been identified in the EU/EEA. Countries and the number of reported infections in each region are as follows:
Austria (17) Belgium (73) Croatia (3) Cyprus (3) Czech Republic (9) Denmark (268) Estonia (26) Finland (20) France (130) Germany (101) Greece (5) Hungary (2) Iceland ( 20) Ireland (18) Italy (27) Latvia (5) Liechtenstein (1) Luxembourg (1) Netherlands (62) Norway (1,176) Portugal (49) Romania (8) Slovakia (3) Spain (49) Sweden ( 51)
Apart from the above countries, another 50 non-EU/EEA regions have also reported Omicron variant cases. Whereas, the UK’s Health Security Agency reported one death linked to Omicron on December 13.
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