First Omicron cases detected in Switzerland

A Covid test sits on some documents
The Omicron variant has now been detected in Switzerland. Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP
Three cases of the Omicron variant have now been detected in Switzerland.

The first two cases of the Omicron strain were detected in Switzerland, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday evening.

The two people, linked to each other, were placed in isolation. The cases were detected in Geneva among arrivals from South Africa. 

Both were unvaccinated, Swiss media reports

Another case was detected in a school in the northern canton of Basel, bringing the total number of cases to three. The vaccination status of this person is unclear. 

In each case, the people who tested positive and their contacts have been placed into quarantine. In the Basel case, around 100 students are currently in quarantine. 

Authorities have so far not indicated how the people were infected, i.e. whether they have been abroad in a country where the Omicron variant is more prevalent. 

READ MORE: Switzerland flags new measures, expansion of Covid certificate

Classified last Friday as “worrying” by WHO, Omicron, initially detected in South Africa, is spreading quickly in Europe.

The agency urged countries to conduct genomic sequencing and contact tracing of confirmed cases, and called for people to not travel to affected areas.

The classification puts Omicron into the most-troubling category of Covid-19 variants, along with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma. 

The Omicron strain is believed to be more transmissible and current vaccines may not provide adequate protection against it, though more data is still needed to be sure.

In Switzerland, travellers from 23 countries must present a negative PCR test when boarding a plane and entering Switzerland, then quarantine for 10 days.

READ MORE: UPDATE: What are the current rules for entering Switzerland?

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