The Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius has recorded its first two infections of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, both linked to people returned from South Africa, with a dozen more contact cases feared.
Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal told a press conference on Friday the pair were asymptomatic and had tested negative the day before.
“They have already gone home,” he said.
He added that contract tracing for the two people had been carried out, revealing 12 positive cases with a missing S gene — a tell-tale sign of Omicron.
Health authorities were currently analysing the samples to determine if they are in fact Omicron.
One of the two Omicron cases was detected in a man who flew home to the island from South Africa on November 27. South Africa first identified the variant just two days before on November 25.
The second case was recorded in a woman in the island’s south whose husband had returned from South Africa on November 18.
Mauritius fully opened its doors to international visitors at the start of October, hoping to rebuild its vital tourism industry after long months of isolation because of the pandemic.
But it was forced to reimpose restrictions last month as Delta variant cases surged.
According to latest figures reported to the World Health Organization, Mauritius has had 62,652 Covid cases and 680 deaths.
More than 900,000 people have been fully vaccinated, representing 73.5 percent of the population, government figures show.