Maldives has confirmed eight cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the local population.
The announcement was made by Health Protection Agency (HPA) in a press conference on Tuesday morning.
At the press conference, HPA’s medical officer Dr. Fathimath Nazla Rafeeg said the first local Omicron case was detected last week.
Seven more locals have tested positive for the variant this week, she said.
Maldives confirmed its first Omicron case in December last year; a South African tourist who arrived in the island country on November 21.
Maldives has now detected 27 cases of Omicron; 19 tourists and eight locals.
Nazla said on Tuesday that the eight local Omicron cases include four cases from Male’, one case from Dh. Kudahuvadhoo, and three cases from K. Maafushi.
One of the cases from Male’ is also linked to Maafushi, she said.
Nazla confirmed a community transmission of Omicron variant in the Maldivian capital.
“The cases include some high-risk patients. But we haven't received report of any serious illness. They are doing well,” she said.
Confirmation of a community spread of Omicron in Male’ comes as Maldives battles a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Sample positivity rate in the capital, which stood at three percent at the end of last year, has now risen to 10 percent.
Maldives has 98,506 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 454 new cases recorded on Monday. 94,404 patients have since recovered, while 264 have died from complications.
The country currently has 3,825 active cases. 21 of the patients are hospitalized.