Photo credit: REUTERS

Saudi Arabia has confirmed its first case of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Saudi’s state-run SPA quoted a source from the health ministry as saying the infected individual – a Saudi national who has been isolated – had travelled back from a North African country.

Saudi Arabia last week halted flights from seven southern African countries, mirroring similar moves by other governments, but travel links with North Africa have remained unaffected.

The kingdom had been lifting some of the remaining restrictions it imposed early in the pandemic, allowing worshippers at the Muslim holy places to resume praying shoulder to shoulder from October.

Since the pandemic started, Saudi Arabia has recorded 549,000 cases of Covid-19, 8,836 of them fatal.

More than 47 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the kingdom which has a population of nearly 35 million.