Health

Covid: Omicron increasing at unparalleled rate, WHO says

The Omicron variant was first identified by South Africa

The new corona virus variant Omicron is escalating across the world at an unequaled rate, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned

Cases of the steadily metamorphosed variant have been established in 77 countries.

Still at a press conference, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO chief said it was almost certainly in many others that had yet to detect it.

Dr Tedros said he was worried that not as much was being done to fight the variant.

“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,”  he said.

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The Omicron variant was first established in South Africa in November, and the country has since then witness a surge in infectious diseases. President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested positive for Covid-19, and is at the present time set apart with not severe symptoms.

A number of countries have introduced travel bans affecting South Africa and its neighbors after the appearance of Omicron, yet this has not succeeded to stop it from escalating around the world.

In other developments

More than 800,000 Americans have now died from the corona virus – the most outrageous recorded national death toll from the global epidemic
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister won backing for Covid passes in England, in spite of the biggest rebellion by members of his party after he became PM
The UK government as well declared on Tuesday that all 11 countries on its travel red list would be taken off, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying the Omicron variant had spread so far apart the rules no longer had much effect.
Italy has enlarged a state of emergency till 31 March 2022, referring to fears over Omicron. The plans, which were intended to terminate at the end of December, give the government more power to reduce travel and public gatherings
The Netherlands says it will close primary schools one week ahead of the Christmas holidays are due to commence, in a preemptive bid to fight infections
Norway has pronounced a ban on serving alcohol in bars and restaurants, in addition to other strategies
Dr Tedros in the press conference on Tuesday, restated fears concerning vaccine injustice, since some countries speed up roll-outs of a booster shot in reaction to Omicron.

The latest studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine revealed it produced far fewer neutralizing antibodies against Omicron than against the ideal strain, still that this deficiency could be turned the other way round by a third, booster, jab.

What we know about Omicron and its impact on Africa

Dr Tedros said boosters

“could play an important role”

in restraining the increase of Covid-19, yet that it was

“a question of prioritization”.

“The order matters. Giving boosters to groups at low risk of severe disease or death simply endangers the lives of those at high risk who are still waiting for their primary doses because of supply constraints,”

he said.

Provision to the global vaccine-sharing program  Covax have grown in current months.
Nevertheless, world health officials are afraid of a a deficit of tens of millions of doses – like the one which happened in the middle of this year after India suspended its vaccine exports – could occur again.

In poorer countries, undetermined vulnerable people are still to receive a single dose.

This details is frequently updated yet may not throw back the current totals or vaccines managed for each location. Total vaccinations allude to the number of doses given, and may be inclusive of booster doses in addition to those needed for full vaccination. The definition of full vaccination varies by country and vaccine type and is subject to change over time.

Source: Our World in Data

Related Topics

World Health Organization (WHO),    

Corona virus pandemic      Omicron Variant

More on this story

Is low vaccination a factor in the rise of Omicron?

What we know about Omicron and its impact on Africa

Why do boosters work if two doses struggle?

Omicron: Is it milder despite dodging immunity?

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