By Jorge Antonio Rocha
MEXICO (AA) - The first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant was reported in Mexico, according to the Health Ministry.
The patient is a 51-year-old South African man who arrived in Mexico on Nov. 21, when he showed COVID-19 symptoms.
Health authorities have said his symptoms are mild, and he is currently under voluntary observation in a private hospital in Mexico City.
As of Nov. 30, the health authorities began testing for the possible new variant following a new surveillance protocol.
"Since November 26, we established a virological surveillance protocol that early identifies COVID-19 cases in people arriving from any country. Closing borders and blocking people or goods are not useful measures to contain the variants," said Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell on Twitter.
Lopez-Gatell had previously said that the omicron variant was inevitable, stating that there is not enough evidence to claim that the new variant is more severe or infectious.
The National Council of Science and Technology reported that Mexico has more than 3,8 cases and nearly 300,000 deaths so far.
As of this month's beginning, the country has vaccinated 77.3 million people.