The Omicron variant of the coronavirus poses a major global risk that countries should prepare for. The World Health Organization (WHO) said so on Monday.
Outbreaks of the new variant can have major consequences. The organization also emphasizes the many uncertainties that still exist around the danger and contagiousness of the variant.
“The new variant has an unprecedented amount of mutations that are worrisome for the course of the pandemic,” the WHO said. “We estimated the global risk with this new variant to be very high.”
The UN agency has advised member states to speed up the vaccination process to protect more people from the coronavirus. The WHO expects that vaccinated people can still get sick with the new variant but that the course of the disease will be less severe, just like with older variants. “Until today, no death has been reported that can be linked to the new variant,” it sounds.
Little is known about the impact of the Omicron variant, which was recently discovered in southern Africa. People in South Africa seem to have milder complaints than with the Delta variant. To know more about the course of the disease and the resistance to vaccines, at least two weeks of research are needed.