On Saturday, British Health Minister Sajid Javid announced that the first two cases of the novel coronavirus, the novel variant Omikron, had been identified in the UK.

“I was contacted by the Health Safety Agency overnight to inform me that two cases of the Omikron variant had been detected in the UK,” Javid said.

The ministry said patients and those living with them have been asked to self-isolate, while further research is underway and a list of people they have come into contact with.

On Thursday evening, the UK government decided to close the borders to non-nationals from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will be added to the list on Sunday. British citizens arriving from there will be required to undergo a 10-day quarantine at a government-designated hotel.

Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroek announced on Friday that the first case of the new coronavirus in Europe had been detected in Belgium. Suspected infections with Omikron have since been reported in the Czech Republic and Germany (PAP)

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