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    Russia detects Omicron variant in 16 people returning from South Africa

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    MOSCOW: Russia has detected the new Omicron coronavirus variant in 16 people who returned from South Africa, the Interfax news agency cited Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova as saying on Monday.

    Russia reported its first two Omicron cases on December 6. It was not immediately clear if the 16 cases announced on Monday included the two reported earlier this month.

    On December 6, Interfax had cited consumer health regulator Rospotrebnadzor as saying that 10 people who returned from South Africa had tested positive for COVID-19. RIA had said Omicron had been detected in two arrivals from South Africa.

    President Vladimir Putin had ordered the government to prepare an action plan to fight Omicron, saying it was important to maintain supplies of drugs, oxygen and hospital beds.

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