Mexico reports first Omicron case

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirms the first case of the Omicron variant in the country, of a man who had been in South Africa, and asks citizens not to be alarmed and to continue to rely on vaccines. (Screenshot of AFP video)


MEXICO CITY, Mexico (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, undersecretary 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 hospitalizations 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 percent of Mexicans older than 18 have been vaccinated, nearly all with two doses.


© Agence France-Presse