Wednesday, January 19

WHO warns countries to prepare for likely spread of Omicron Covid-19 variant


World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries to prepare for the likely spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant but urged them not to panic as scientists continue to study it. Scientists had expressed concerns over the unusually high number of mutations that have the potential to make the new Omicron variant more transmissible and less susceptible to existing vaccines.

This was made known by WHO Spokesperson, Christian Lindmeier, while speaking in Geneva on Friday, where he stressed that data suggesting that Omicron was highly transmissible was only preliminary.

According to NAN, the WHO had maintained that it would take another 2 weeks before more is known about how transmissible and how dangerous it actually is.

What the WHO Spokesperson is saying

Lindneier said the Delta mutation which was declared a variant of concern earlier this summer, is now predominant with over 90% all around the world.

He said, “It is much more preferred to prepare your country, your health system to possibly incoming cases because we can be pretty sure that this Omicron variant will spread around.

“This is how this virus behaves and we will not most likely be able to keep it out of individual countries.”

The WHO official also cautioned against knee-jerk reactions to reports that Omicron had continued to spread.

He said, “Let’s not get deterred right now, let us first get as much information as possible to make the correct risk assessment based on the information that we will have and then let’s move on. Let’s not get completely worried or confused by individual information which are all individually important, but which need to be brought together in order to assess together.’’

The UN health agency had said that it was sending a technical surge team to South Africa’s Gauteng province to monitor Omicron and help with contact tracing, amid reports of spike in coronavirus reinfections.

What you should know

The new Omicron Covid-19 variant which was reported to have been first discovered in South Africa, had been reported to have spread to some 38 countries, including Nigeria.

The WHO had earlier said it was not yet clear whether the latest Covid-19 variant, Omicron, is more transmissible, or causes more severe disease compared to other variants.

The UN health agency had also warned that the global risk of the new Omicron variant is very high as more countries have reported cases of the variant that has attracted worldwide concern of a likely fourth wave of the pandemic ahead.



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