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Countries scramble to impose new travel restrictions as new 'Omicron' variant emerges Updated: 2021-11-29 08:33:16 KST

A new COVID-19 variant, (Ohm-nee-chron) 'Omicron' is setting off alarm bells in South Korea and around the world.
Countries have sealed their borders in an attempt to stop the strain reaching their shores.
Our Kim Yeon-seung is one the line to tell us more.
So Yeon-seung tell us, what is this new variant all about?

So it's this new variant of concern.
South Africa first sounded the alarm on this new strain to the WHO on November 24th.
And a growing number of countries have detected the strain within their borders.
Botswana, Britain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia and Israel have identified cases, and Canada, just a few hours, ago detected its first cases.
Many countries are scrambling to update prevention guidelines to counter this new threat.
Israel enforced one of its toughest measures yet,.. by sealing off its borders to all foreign nationals for two weeks after finding their first case of Omicron.
The European Union has narrowed entry across its borders from seven countries in Southern Africa, while South Korea and the U.S. have targeted travel restrictions for eight countries in the region.
But there's still so much unknown about this virus.
Some say it could be more evasive to vaccine protection and more transmissible compared to other strains.
Doctors in South Africa, though, reported very mild symptoms among their Omicron patients.
Most suffered from fatigue and muscle pain that lasted for a few days, while none have reported the more notorious COVID-19 symptoms like the loss of smell or taste yet.

Right, a looming new strain definitely is concerning, considering how South Korea is already dealing with the recent spike of infections and critical cases.

Exactly,.. South Korea's ICU beds are more than 75 percent full nationwide, while the number of critical cases rising above 600,.. 629 reported as of Monday.
3,309 new infection cases were reported Monday morning as well.
Health authorities are due to announce a comprehensive plan on how they plan on adjusting prevention measures after taking the current situation into account.
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