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Omicron poses “very high” global risk, world needs to prepare: WHO – SABC News

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is likely to spread internationally, posing a “very high” global risk of outbreaks of infection that could have “Serious consequences” in some regions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

The UN agency urged its 194 member states to speed up vaccination of high priority groups and, in anticipation of an increase in the number of cases, to “ensure that mitigation plans are in place” to maintain essential health services.

“Omicron has an unprecedented number of cutting edge mutations, some of which are of concern for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said.

“The overall overall risk associated with the new variant is assessed as very high.”

To date, no Omicron-related deaths have been reported, although more research is needed to assess Omicron’s potential to evade protection against vaccine-induced immunity and previous infections, he said. -he declares.

“The increase in cases, regardless of a change in severity, can place overwhelming demands on health systems and can lead to increased morbidity and mortality. The impact on vulnerable populations would be substantial, especially in countries with low vaccination coverage, ”he said.

The variant was first reported to the WHO on November 24 from South Africa, where infections have risen sharply.

It has since spread around the world, with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries impose travel restrictions in an attempt to shut down. Japan on Monday announced it would close its borders to foreigners, joining Israel in taking the toughest measures.

The WHO, in its latest guidance, reiterated that countries should use a “risk-based approach to adjust international travel measures in a timely manner.” More advice would be forthcoming, he said.

“The presence of multiple spike protein mutations in the receptor binding domain suggests that Omicron may have a high probability of immune evasion from antibody-mediated protection. However, the potential for immune evasion of the Cell-mediated immunity is more difficult to predict, ”he said.

“Overall, there is considerable uncertainty about the magnitude of Omicron’s immune escape potential.”

More data was expected in the coming weeks.

“Cases and infections of COVID-19 are expected in those vaccinated, although in a low and predictable proportion,” he added.

Omicron poses “very high” global risk, world needs to prepare: WHO – SABC News

Source link Omicron poses “very high” global risk, world needs to prepare: WHO – SABC News

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