World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that the Omicron COVID-19 variant has now spread to 57 countries and that number is expected to increase.
Tedros added that countries around the world must stay vigilant with surveillance, testing and sequencing as the Omicron variant spreads and could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic.
He also said according to emerging data from South Africa, there’s evidence of increased risk of reinfection with Omicron, but more data is needed to draw firmer conclusions. There’s also some evidence the Omicron variant causes milder disease than the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, WHO officials in the Western Pacific said border closures adopted by some countries may buy time to delay the Omicron COVID-19 variant, but measures put in place and experience gained in dealing with the Delta variant should remain the foundation for fighting the pandemic.
While a few countries are facing surges, COVID-19 cases and deaths in many others have decreased and plateaued, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific Dr. Takeshi Kasai told reporters in a virtual news conference earlier this week.
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