Lisbon hospital shuts children services due to Omicron COVID-19 case

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon

LISBON (Reuters) - A large hospital near Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, said on Tuesday it has temporarily shut two of its pediatric departments after a health worker, who is also the doctor for a COVID-hit soccer team, tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Garcia de Orta hospital in Almada, a city on the other side of the River Tagus from Lisbon, said the pediatric emergency and outpatient departments would close from 10 p.m. on Tuesday for a period of 14 days.

In a statement, the hospital said all those who were in contact with the infected health worker, a total of 28 people, were now in isolation and being monitored.

Portuguese health authorities detected on Monday 13 cases of the Omicron variant, all involving players and staff of top division soccer club Belenenses SAD, one of whose players recently returned from South Africa.

A Belenenses SAD spokesman told Reuters that the health worker infected with the Omicron variant at the Garcia de Orta hospital was also the doctor of the Belenenses SAD squad.

Multiple countries have reported cases of the variant since it was first detected last week in southern Africa. The World Health Organization said the variant carried a very high global risk of surges.

(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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