Health Protection Agency HPA has confirmed the first case of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron in the Maldives.

The Agency said in a tweet that it has received confirmation of the 1st case of COVID-19 Omicron variant in the country.

HPA said that this case was reported from genomic sequencing conducted on a positive sample of a tourist.

It added that the agency will keep the public updated on further developments.

A source has confirmed to "The Press" that a southern African tourist had tested positive for Omicron variant in the Maldives and that the tourist had entered the country before it had closed its borders to South Africa and 6 other African nations.

The Maldives remains a popular travel destination among South Africans with Immigration data showing that more than 5,300 people from the country had visited the Maldives in September and October of this year.

Today's confirmation came a day after HPA said that there were no confirmed cases of the new variant in the Maldives.

Omicron has spread rapidly to at least 40 countries since it was first reported in South Africa last week, officials say, and many governments have tightened travel rules to try to keep it out including the Maldives.