Covid 19: Omicron variant poses a 'very high' global risk - World Health Organisation

Covid 19: Omicron variant poses a 'very high' global risk - World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation has warned that the Covid-19 Omicron variant poses a “very high” global risk and warned it is likely to spread further across the world.

The UN health agency said the Covid strain first discovered in southern Africa was a “highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations … some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.”

“The likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” WHO said.

There have been no deaths connected with the Omicron variant so far. However, WHO said even if Omicron proves to be less deadly than previous strains, if it spreads more easily then it will spark more cases and lead to more deaths.

Covid 19: Omicron variant poses a 'very high' global risk - World Health Organisation

Shoppers on Regent Street in London on November 29. Photo / AP

“If another major surge of Covid-19 takes place driven by Omicron, consequences may be severe,” it said, concluding that “the overall global risk related to the new VOC [variant of concern] Omicron is assessed as very high”.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread of the Omicron variant will be a “test of our collective ability to respond to future pandemics”.

Speaking at the start of a three-day World Health Assembly conference, the WHO chief said “courageous and compassionate leadership” and an “unshakeable commitment to solidarity” will be fundamental in ending the pandemic.

Dr Tedros criticised the inequitable distribution of vaccines, adding that access to vaccinations for all countries was necessary to limit the spread of the virus and its mutations.

“The more vaccine inequity persists, the more this virus will spread in ways we cannot predict or prevent,” Tedros said. “We are all in this together.”

WHO said while scientists work to determine how effective vaccines are against the new variant, countries should accelerate Covid vaccination, especially among vulnerable populations who have yet to receive any jabs.

Covid 19: Omicron variant poses a 'very high' global risk - World Health Organisation

A woman receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a centre in Soweto, South Africa on November 29. Photo / AP

However, it also cautioned against imposing travel bans, saying that blocking travel from countries where new variants are first spotted is unfair.

“With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity,” said WHO regional director Matshidiso Moeti.

South Africa has complained it is being “punished” with air travel bans for first detecting the strain.

A growing list of countries have already imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa, including Britain, Indonesia, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Japan is the latest country to say it will close its borders to foreigners.

In Australia, under federal measures, travellers entering the country from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles in the last 14 days have been ordered into hotel quarantine.

Omicron reaches North America

Meanwhile, the Omicron variant has been detected in Canada, the country’s health minister said.

Two cases in Ontario were confirmed on Sunday by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

The variant has also been found in Australia, Israel, Botswana, the UK and France since it was first detected in South Africa.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious diseases expert, said he would not be surprised if the Omicron variant was already in the United States, too.

“We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility … it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over,” Fauci said.

South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first discovered, could see daily infections treble this week.

Epidemiologist Dr Salim Abdool Karim said health monitors reported over 2800 new infections on Sunday, up from a daily average of 500 in the previous week and 275 the week before.

“I am expecting we will top over 10,000 cases by the end of the week per day [and] see pressure on hospitals within the next two, three weeks,” he said.

Covid 19: Omicron variant poses a 'very high' global risk - World Health Organisation

News Related

OTHER NEWS

How a swimming pool reportedly led to Adele's Las Vegas residency drama

A new detail has emerged in Adele’s Las Vegas residency saga. According to a source who spoke to the Sun, the reason for the cancellation of her shows goes beyond ... Read more »

Italy wants their famous espresso coffee to have UNESCO status

Few things feel more quintessentially Italian than ordering ‘un caffè’ at an espresso bar. Around the world Italy is known for its coffee culture; something the nation now want to ... Read more »

Ukraine crisis: What are US options for sanctions against Putin?

The financial options being considered to punish President Vladimir Putin if Russia invades Ukraine range from the sweeping to the acutely personal — from cutting Russia off from U.S. dollars ... Read more »

Palmerston North writer Miriam Sharland working on an eco-biography

What does an Englishwoman living in Palmerston North do when Covid-19 grounds her writing plans? In Miriam Sharland’s case, she makes like a Kiwi and turns to her neighbourhood and ... Read more »

Benedict Cumberbatch's lockdown antics in Hawke's Bay - the legitimate and the dubious

A-lister Benedict Cumberbatch might’ve been in lockdown in Hawke’s Bay, but it didn’t stop him seeing some of the region. Ever since a Sherlock Holmes-inspired Hawke’s Bay Today reporter looked ... Read more »

Kanye West's bombshell Kim Kardashian 'second sex tape' claim

In the latest Kimye news, Kayne West is claiming he prevented his ex-wife’s second sex tape from seeing the light of day. Kim Kardashian rose to fame shortly after her ... Read more »

Covid-19 Australia: Anti-vaxxers caught out selling 'legal letters' to parents ahead of schools' return

Anti-vaxxers are selling ‘legal’ letters which experts say carry no more weight than a note scrawled on a piece of paper to parents concerned about their children being vaccinated. It ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Government 'commandeering' rapid antigen tests secured by private sector, National Party says

The National Party is accusing the Government of taking rapid antigen tests away from the private sector to hide its own incompetence. There are 4.6 million of the Covid-19 tests ... Read more »

'You were a tireless warrior': Family of slain Christchurch woman Juliana Herrera speak

The family of Colombian woman Juliana Herrera have paid tribute to her days after she was allegedly murdered in her Christchurch home. The 37-year-old was found dead in her flat ... Read more »

Border reopening plan: Stranded New Zealanders to learn about self-isolation scheme soon

Overseas New Zealanders desperate to return home will soon learn when they can travel here without booking a stay in a managed isolation (MIQ) facility. They have been waiting for ... Read more »

Rangiora signwriter accused of making fake vaccine passes

Police have swooped on a Canterbury signwriter who has allegedly been making fake vaccine passes. Officers this morning raided the printing and graphics business which operates out of a shed ... Read more »

Harakeke: Tamariki create putiputi at Hollard Gardens

Harakeke (flax) was transformed into putiputi (flowers) at a school holiday activity. Last week, tamariki and their whānau made their way to Hollard Gardens for a putiputi weaving workshop, organised ... Read more »

Thousands become New Zealand residents under new government scheme

By Gill Bonnett for RNZ About 5000 people have become residents under a fast-track government scheme launched last month, with migrants from India, South Africa, and the Philippines topping the ... Read more »

Opinion: Goal is to create 'path forward to resolve the issues'

Weekly column by Kāpiti’s Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Penny Gaylor. Welcome to 2022, happy new year, and I hope it has been a safe summer for you all. Like ... Read more »

Nicola Alpe: Five ways to make 2022 your most productive year yet

Summer is coming to a swift close and it’s time for us to turn up the productivity. It can be an ugly word, but if you look at productivity as ... Read more »

Greerton Aquatic Centre to close for nine weeks

The Greerton Aquatic and Leisure Centre will close for nine weeks to undertake scheduled maintenance and improvements to this much-loved community facility. Improvements will be made to enhance the visitor ... Read more »

How takeaway delivery services are killing the art of cooking - Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver says online takeaways are killing off the art of cooking. The 46-year-old TV chef has insisted the habit of ordering meals to be delivered is “driving our kids ... Read more »

Racing: Opawa Superstar dominant in NZ Breeders

Opawa Superstar lived up to his name at Addington on Thursday night, when he broke through for his maiden Group One victory in the Suck It Up Ltd New Zealand ... Read more »

Rising cost of living in Aotearoa may trigger civil disobedience, social service says

By Hamish Cardwell of RNZ A “perfect storm” of the rising costs of basic necessities, inflation and Covid-19 have a social service warning of possible “civil disobedience” – with people ... Read more »

Crystal Hefner confirms Hugh Hefner had 'thousands' of explicit photos taken without consent

Crystal Hefner has confirmed one of several alarming claims about life in the Playboy Mansion, tweeting her support of former Playmate Holly Madison. Madison, who dated millionaire Hugh Hefner from ... Read more »

Woman reveals 'genius' trick to getting expensive tourist experience for free

Want to take an iconic gondola ride around Venice, without paying €80? One UK woman has shared how to do exactly that in a popular TikTok. Katie, from the UK, ... Read more »

England's disrupted build-up to the Six Nations suffers another blow after prop Joe Marler is forced to leave their training camp after testing positive for Covid for second time in three months

England’s Six Nations preparations were dealt a further blow on Tuesday night after prop Joe Marler tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time this season. The 31-year-old was sent ... Read more »

Ordering takeaways are killing the art of cooking - Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver says online takeaways are killing off the art of cooking. The 46-year-old TV chef has insisted the habit of ordering meals to be delivered is “driving our kids ... Read more »

Facebook gently mocks the New Zilund accent in its first Metaverse ad

It’s time to enter the Matrix … of dad jokes. The Kiwi accent gets a gentle ribbing in Facebook’s first global ad for its much-hyped “metaverse”. The tech giant- which ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Auckland locations of interest list grows, Hamilton and Kaitaia shops added

More Auckland high-risk locations are being added to the growing list which now includes six flights, three bus routes, a liquor store, a bakery and a wedding that had up ... Read more »

Strictly's Tilly Ramsay reunites with beaming pro partner Nikita Kuzmin as he RETURNS to the live tour in Leeds after being forced to withdraw due to a positive Covid test

Latest Strictly Come Dancing 2021 news on Series 30 judges, dancers and contestants here Read more »

Neil Young demands Spotify removes his music, citing Joe Rogan's podcast as a reason

Neil Young has demanded his music be removed from Spotify because it is “spreading” Covid-19 vaccine misinformation. The legendary musician has requested – via an online letter to his record ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Grant Robertson clashes with Heather du Plessis-Allan over RAT 'ban'

Newstalk ZB host Heather Du Plessis-Allan has clashed with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson over the Government’s plan for the supply of rapid antigen tests (RATs). New Zealand’s supply of ... Read more »

Wales suffer early Six Nations blow as Christ Tshiunza tests positive for Covid-19 just under two weeks before their opener against Ireland... with the young Exeter forward unlikely to be available in time for Wayne Pivac's defending champions

Wales are likely to be without Christ Tshiunza for their opening Six Nations tieThe holders are due to face Ireland at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on February 5Tshiunza, 20, has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of their curtain-raiserThe youngster is now set to miss the clash with Ireland after entering isolation  Read more »

Across NZ on an EV road trip: Where to stop, stay and charge

Motor Industry Association statistics show a record 3290 Teslas registered in Aotearoa last year, up from 592 in 2020. That accounts only for new Teslas – add other brands, used ... Read more »

Ski resorts invest millions to fight drought and climate change

The sight can be jarring during extreme drought: snowmaking guns lined up on a mountainside, blasting precious crystal flakes on a ski run while the rest of the land goes ... Read more »

Hunt on for Magpies' charity partner

The Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union has started the hunt for the Magpies’ charity partner as it looks forward to another big season of Ranfurly Shield and national provincial championship rugby. ... Read more »

Focus Morning Bulletin: 26 Jan, 2022

New mask mandates, schools prepare for teaching under red and Russia massing troops on the Ukraine border in the latest New Zealand Herald headlines. Video / NZ Herald Read more »

State Highway 2 to Wairoa to be closed for daytime repairs for two days in February

Travel on State Highway 2 from Napier to Wairoa will be blocked for 11 hours each day on the weekend of February 12-13 because of road works near the Devil’s ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Pfizer begins testing matched shots in adults

Pfizer is enrolling healthy adults to test a reformulated Covid-19 vaccine that matches the hugely contagious Omicron variant, to see how it compares with the original shots. Pfizer and its ... Read more »

Football: Death toll in Cameroon stadium crush at eight as security blamed

The death toll in a stampede outside a game at the African Cup of Nations football tournament in Cameroon has risen to eight, as witnesses blamed security officials for making ... Read more »

Truck crash on State Highway 1 south of Milton

The driver of a logging truck is trapped after crashing into a ditch on SH1 in Otago this morning. A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesperson said they were called to ... Read more »

Covid chaos in schools: One in 20 pupils in England were absent last week as number of students with a confirmed case of the virus DOUBLED in a fortnight to 321,800

An estimated one in 20 pupils in England were absent due to Covid last week The number of students off with a confirmed case of virus doubled in a fortnight Government data shows estimated 321,800 were off with Covid on January 20  Read more »

Alliance launches premium Wagyu beef offer for farmers

Alliance has launched a premium Wagyu beef offer to farmers in a bid to increase value and meet consumer demand in its international markets. The red meat cooperative is partnering ... Read more »

Two people injured after vehicle crashes into house in Auckland

Two people have been injured – one seriously – after a vehicle crashed into a house in South Auckland overnight. Emergency services were called to Roscommon Rd, Clendon Park, at ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic