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World Health Organization Warns Omicron Covid-19 Variant Poses A ‘Very High’ Global Risk

Stewart Perrie

Published 

World Health Organization Warns Omicron Covid-19 Variant Poses A ‘Very High’ Global Risk

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

The World Health Organization is concerned the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus will pose a 'very high' risk to the planet.

While researchers and scientists are still trying to work out how bad the strain is, The WHO said it will still be damaging to countries who are trying to find their feet after the pandemic.

Their report confirmed the variant has between 26 to 32 mutations and some of those are 'concerning' because it could make it more transmissible than the original virus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Omicron proves how the fight against Covid-19 isn't over yet.

"We should all be wide awake to the threat of this virus," he said during an assembly of health ministers.

"But Omicron's very emergence is another reminder that although many of us might think we're done with Covid-19, it's not done with us.

"We're living through a cycle of panic and neglect. Hard-earned gains could vanish in an instant. Our most immediate task is therefore is to end this pandemic."

The WHO has released its top three main concerns with the new variant.

They first want to find out how transmissible it is compared to other strains, how well it is able to overcome the vaccines that are available, and whether it has 'a different severity profile'.

The Organization says even if it's not more deadly, it could still spread fast around the world now that international borders have opened up and that can have a 'very high global risk'.

"Increasing cases, regardless of a change in severity, may pose overwhelming demands on health care systems and may lead to increased morbidity and mortality," it said.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

"The impact on vulnerable populations would be substantial, particularly in countries with low vaccination coverage.

"Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic. The overall global risk related to the new variant ... is assessed as very high."

There have only been five confirmed cases of the variant in Australia so far and outside of Africa there have been cases in Czech Republic, Belgium, the UK, Hong Kong, Portugal, and Canada.

Experts say they will need two weeks of real-world data to accurately assess how bad this new strain could be for everyone.

There have been no deaths associated with the variant.

Topics: Omicron, News

Stewart Perrie
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