The first case of the omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected on the Greek island of Crete, Health Minister Thanos Plevris announced on Thursday.

Plevris said at a press briefing in Athens that the Greek national has recently returned from South Africa to Chania, on the island of Crete, and that health authorities have taken the necessary procedures to follow his contacts.

According to Theoklis Zaoutis, the head of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), the man, whose identity has yet to be revealed, returned to the island on November 26 and took a rapid test, which revealed a COVID-19 negative result.

However, after the man developed a few mild symptoms on November 29, it was confirmed that he was infected with the virus, and authorities confirmed it was the new omicron variant on Thursday morning.

He is currently quarantined, and his contacts have all tested negative, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Greek health experts advised that children aged 5 to 11 receive a lesser dose of the vaccine.

On Wednesday, the parliament approved the mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 for all adults over the aged of 60. The immunization campaign for this age group will begin this month. Those who are not vaccinated will face a fine of 100 euros each month starting January 16.

The health minister also announced that special healthcare committees would be set up to examine the cases of people seeking vaccine exemption for serious health reasons.

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