Dubai, Dec 1: Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it detected its first case of the new coronavirus variant omicron.

The kingdom's state-run Saudi Press Agency said the case came from a citizen coming from what it described as a North African country.

The report said the infected individual and his close contacts had been quarantined.

The case marks the first-known instance of omicron being detected among Gulf Arab nations.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, which has been identified in more than 20 countries, including whether it is more contagious, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said more would be known about the omicron strain in two to four weeks as scientists grow and test lab samples of the virus.

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Lucknow, Jan 16 (PTI): Former Uttar Pradesh minister and OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan joined the Samajwadi Party on Sunday, days after he resigned from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.

On Friday, former ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini, five BJP MLAs and one from the Apna Dal (Sonelal) joined the Samajwadi Party.

Apna Dal (Sonelal) is an ally of the BJP.

Besides Chauhan, Apna Dal (Sonelal) MLA from Vishvanathganj Assembly constituency in Pratapgarh district R K Verma too on Sunday joined the Akhilesh Yadav-led party which has emerged as the main challenger to the BJP in the state.

While joining the Samajwadi party, Chauhan trained his guns at the BJP, saying, "When the BJP formed government in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, it gave the slogan 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas'... But, 'vikaas' (development) of a handful of people was done and the rest were left to their fate."

Terming the Samajwadi Party as his "old home", he said, "We will change the politics of Uttar Pradesh, and make Akhilesh Yadav the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh once again."