On the same day Panama detected a first case of the coronavirus virus variant Omicron, Colombia’s Minister of Health Fernando Ruíz confirmed that three persons on the Colombian coast have tested positive for the infectious variant. The cases were identified by the National Institute of Health (INS) in a U.S citizen and two Colombians visiting Cartagena and Santa Marta. The institute noted late Monday that there is “no evidence of community circulation.”
“The three cases of the omicron variant in Colombia are in travelers who came from other parts of the world: two of them from the US and one from Spain,” stated Ruiz. “This situation is consistent with what we have been announcing for several weeks of the imminent arrival of the variant in Colombia,” he added.
Omicron has been identified in the country at a time when the transmission rates of the pandemic remain low compared to the lethal third peak during the middle of the year which resulted in some 32,000 daily infections. On Monday, Colombia registered 29 additional deaths from the virus and 1,699 infections, raising the death toll to 129,487 and total number of infections to 5,109,022.
“The three cases, and their contacts, are being exhaustively analyzed by the INS,” stated Ruíz, while also calling on all citizens to take extra health precautions during the Christmas holidays. He also invited everyone over the age of 18 who has completed six months of their full vaccination scheme to take a booster dose. “There are vaccines available throughout Colombia, and the important thing to bear in mind is that if we protect ourselves, we protect our families and the entire community,” he said.