Greece's first case of Omicron variant detected on Crete

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Syringes with needles are seen in front of a displayed stock graph and words "Omicron SARS-CoV-2" in this illustration taken, November 27, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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ATHENS, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Greece has detected its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in a Greek citizen on the island of Crete who had returned from South Africa last month, its Health Minister Thanos Plevris told reporters on Thursday.

The man, who has mild symptoms, and those he has had contact with, have been quarantined, said the head of Greece's public health agency EODY, Theoklis Zaoutis.

His contacts have tested negative so far, he added.

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Increasing numbers of countries are reporting cases of the variant, which the World Health Organization has said carries a very high global risk of causing surges of infection. read more

The country's vaccination committee has given the green light for children aged five to 11 to be given the COVID-19 vaccine, Plevris said, adding that bookings for the first shots for this group will open once the country gets the first shipment.

In a move to quell a resurgent virus, Greece will make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for people aged 60 and over. read more

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Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou Editing by Peter Graff and Bernadette Baum

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