LONDON – The World Health Organization said on Monday that the global risk of the new omicron variant is “very high”, as more countries have reported such cases, raising concerns around the world that more pandemics may be afflicted.
As cases of the variant are confirmed around the world, a growing number of nations are tightening their borders despite an outbreak of caution and gloom on the part of some countries.
In advising its member states, the UN agency urged them to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination coverage “as soon as possible” and increase surveillance and sequencing efforts, especially among high-priority groups.
“Omicrons have an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are related to their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” Bodie said in the report. tweeted Monday out. “If there is another big surge of Covid-19 driven by Omicron, the consequences could be dire.”
Answering your questions about the Omicron type
November 28, 202101:26
The WHO advice came as more countries reported cases of the new variant, first identified in South Africa on Wednesday. The Scottish Government said on Monday that six cases of Omicron had been identified in Scotland. Meanwhile, health officials in Portugal said 13 cases had been detected in the country, according to Reuters.
The variant has now been detected in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Israel and Hong Kong, among other countries.
However, the extent of the actual spread of the Omicron type around the world is still unclear as countries discover new cases every day. The US has not yet identified any cases, but the government’s chief infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, and other experts have warned that it may already make it to the US.
Dr. Kavita Patel, Granthshala News’ medical contributor, said: “It’s already here. We know from previous variants that by the time we pick it up in Africa and the European Union, it’s already possible.”
The US has banned travel from South Africa and seven neighboring countries effective Monday.
Japan announced on Monday that it would suspend the entry of all foreign visitors after Israel, which on Sunday became the first country to do so. Israel’s government has also promised to use controversial phone-tracking technology to follow up and find cases of the new version.
The South African government has pushed back global restrictions imposed on people arriving from South Africa and other countries in the region.
Its foreign ministry said the measures were akin to “punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and ability to detect new variants early.”
“Excellent science should be appreciated and not punished,” it said in a statement.
Despite the global alarm, there is still little understanding about the variant and how viral it may become.
Scientists caution that it is still unclear whether Omicron is more dangerous than other versions of the virus Killed more than 5 million people.
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