Mexico Reports First Omicron Case

(AFP)— Mexico on Friday announced its first case of the coronavirus Omicron variant, in a traveller from South Africa, but the government said it was not considering border closures as a counter-measure.

The variant was detected in a 51-year-old from South Africa with mild symptoms, under-secretary of health Hugo Lopez-Gatell Ramirez said on Twitter.

An epidemiologist by training, Lopez-Gatell Ramirez said closing borders and blocking the movement of people and goods “are not useful measures for containing variants.”

Vaccination was key to reducing COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths, he said.

“We call on you to remain calm and to continue taking measures to prevent infections” such as mask-wearing, social distancing and regular hand-washing, Lopez-Gatell Ramirez tweeted.

Mexico, with some 128 million people, has reported more than 294,000 coronavirus deaths — the world’s fourth highest number — and 3.9 million cases.

On Wednesday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said about 86 per cent of Mexicans older than 18 have been vaccinated, nearly all with two doses.