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The Latest: Local transmission of virus variant in Scotland

LONDON -- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there is evidence of local transmission of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus after the country reported its first six cases.

She told a news conference that not all the cases in Scotland had links to recent travel, adding that this suggests “there might already be some community transmission of this variant in Scotland.”

The new cases takes the U.K.’s total to nine after three cases were identified in England over the weekend.

A passenger arrives at London's Heathrow Airport, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

The arrival of the variant on British shores prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to tighten restrictions on mask-wearing and testing of international arrivals to England.

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— 13 omicron cases discovered in Portuguese soccer club

Police officers check the vaccination certificates of guests in a restaurant in Hannover, Germany, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. On behalf of the local authorities, the police are starting to patrol restaurants and other catering establishments in order to check the measures to battle the spread of the coronavirus. (Ole Spatadpa via AP)

— AP explains what is known and not known about the new COVID-19 variant

— Merriam-Webster chooses vaccine as the 2021 word of the year

— Why WHO skipped ‘nu,’ ‘xi’ for new COVID variant

— See all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Tourist visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Thailand, starting this Wednesday, will ban visitors from eight southern African countries where the new COVID-19 variant omicron has been found. From Dec. 15, The kingdom will require arrivals from all other African nations to undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine upon arrival. (AP PhotoSakchai Lalit)

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan’s planning minister said a big vaccination campaign against coronavirus will be expedited this week to minimize the threat of the new variant.

Asad Umar warned that the new coronavirus variant known as omicron will inevitably come to the Islamic nation in the next few weeks, and he urged unvaccinated citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Umar said since the world is interconnected, it is impossible to stop the new variant from entering Pakistan.

A man lowers his mask to speak on his phone outside a restaurant in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. As cases of a new coronavirus variant are confirmed around the world, an increasing number of countries are tightening their borders as fear spreads of yet another extension of pandemic suffering. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)

LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese health authorities said they have identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant believed to be more contagious, among team members of a professional soccer club.

The Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute said Monday that one of those who tested positive at the Lisbon-based Belenenses soccer club had recently traveled to South Africa, where the omicron variant was first identified.

The others, however, hadn't traveled to South Africa, indicating that this may be one of the very first cases of local transmission of the virus outside of southern Africa.

Airplanes sit on the tarmac at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. As cases of a new coronavirus variant are confirmed around the world, Japan announced Monday that it will suspend entry of all foreign visitors, joining an increasing number of countries that are tightening their borders as fear spreads of yet another extension of pandemic suffering. (AP PhotoKoji Sasahara)

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania wants to repatriate 39 of its citizens from South Africa, including members of a professional rugby team, amid suspended flights because of concerns over the omicron variant.

Romania’s foreign ministry said it will organize a special repatriation flight and urged Romanian citizens in South Africa who want to leave the country to notify the authorities as soon as possible.

Romania’s sports minister, Eduard Novak, said he has been in close contact with Romania’s national champion rugby team whose members are in South Africa.

A woman holds onto a cotton pad after being inoculated with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine during the first day of a nationwide three-day vaccination drive at a school in Quezon city, Philippines on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. There has been no reported infection so far caused by the new variant in the Philippines, a Southeast Asian pandemic hotspot where COVID-19 cases have considerably dropped to below 1,000 each day in recent days, but the emergence of the Omicron variant has set off a new alarm. (AP PhotoAaron Favila)

A health worker shows an empty syringe after inoculating a woman with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine during the first day of a nationwide three-day vaccination drive at a school in Quezon city, Philippines on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. There has been no reported infection so far caused by the new variant in the Philippines, a Southeast Asian pandemic hotspot where COVID-19 cases have considerably dropped to below 1,000 each day in recent days, but the emergence of the Omicron variant has set off a new alarm. (AP PhotoAaron Favila)

A woman hold her arm after receiving Covishield COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. (AP PhotoRafiq Maqbool)

A health worker fills a syringe with a vial of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Mumbai, India, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. (AP PhotoRafiq Maqbool)