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Omicron spreading at rate we have not seen with any previous variant: WHO Chief

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Omicron spreading at rate we have not seen with any previous variant: WHO Chief

Highlights

  • WHO on Tuesday said that Omicron has spread in more than 70 countries.
  • The body has advised to ensure social distancing, hand hygiene and vaccination against Covid-19.
  • WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued information regarding the spread of Omicron.

As concerns regarding the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 is on the rise, the World Health Organization Chief Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus on Tuesday said that the new variant has been detected in over 70 countries and it was likely already present in most countries in the world. “77 countries have now reported cases of Omicron, and the reality is that Omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected yet. Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant,” WHO said in a tweet. 

The international health body also raised concern over the world as people are dismissing Omicron as mild. “We’re concerned that people are dismissing Omicron as mild. Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems” it said further. 

The WHO also urged people to use proper coronavirus protocol.

Here’s what the global body says about the new variant:

  • The WHO strongly suggests ‘Do it all’. In its notification, it said that vaccination, social distancing and hand and personal hygiene all need to be ensured. Neither can be used as a replacement for others.
  • It also said that the emergence of Omicron has prompted some countries to roll out COVID-19 booster programmes for their entire adult populations, even while there is a lack of evidence for the effectiveness of boosters against this variant.
  • The WHO expects an increase in the number of hospitalisations and fatalities related to Omicron coronavirus strain.
  • As case numbers linked to a variant of concern increase globally, WHO expects the number of hospitalized cases and even deaths to be reported.
  • The UN health agency also said that more information is needed to fully understand the clinical picture of those infected with Omicron and WHO encourages countries to contribute to the collection and sharing of hospitalized patient data through the WHO COVID-19 Clinical Data Platform, according to Sputnik.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, last week had said that highlighted “a consistent picture of the rapid increase in transmission” but he added that the exact rate of increase relative to other variants remains difficult to quantify. It comes as the WHO last week had shed light on features of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, including the extent to which it will spread, and the number of mutations in the newfound strain.

The UN-health agency had suggested that a new variant could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic, but it’s still too early to say for sure.

(With ANI Inputs)

Also Read: Maharashtra reports 8 new Omicron cases, none have international travel history

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