Romania detects first cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

BUCHAREST, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Romania's health ministry said on Saturday it has detected the first two cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in two Romanians who returned from South Africa on Nov. 30.

The two travellers, a 48-year-old woman from the central county of Brasov and a 59-year-old man from the eastern county of Vaslui, were isolated in their homes and had no symptoms, the ministry said. Authorities were sequencing a third test to identify virus variant.

Romania has introduced travel bans for non-European Union citizens arriving from several African states and has sent planes to recover Romanians stranded by cancelled flights. The returnees are expected to quarantine for two weeks.

The EU state reported 1,490 new daily COVID-19 cases and 131 deaths on Saturday. The EU's second-least vaccinated country, Romania experienced its deadliest wave of the pandemic so far in October and early November.

Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Cynthia Osterman

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