The United States on Wednesday announced its first confirmed case of the Covid-19 Omicron variant had been detected in California, in a fully vaccinated traveler who had recently returned from South Africa and was recovering from mild symptoms.

Top health official Anthony Fauci said authorities “knew it was just a matter of time” before the strain was found in the country, reminding Americans that vaccination, boosters and masking in indoor public settings remained the best way to stay protected.

According to a statement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the person returned from South Africa on November 22, and their close contacts have all tested negative.

Speaking to reporters, Fauci added that the patient tested positive on November 29 and that they had not received a booster, to the best of his knowledge.

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