The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the new ‘Omicron’ COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa as “variant of concern,” saying that it is highly transmissible compared to previous forms of the deadly virus. According to some reports, the new variant is reportedly the most dangerous variant of the COVID-19 virus detected.
Infections in South Africa have risen steeply in recent weeks with the detection of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, which poses a greater risk of reinfection and there has been a “detrimental change in the COVID-19 epidemiology,” said WHO in a statement after a meeting of experts who reviewed the data related to the new variant.
The variant has been detected at a faster rate compared to previous surges in the COVID-19 infection, however, the PCR tests continue to successfully detect the variant. However, the global authorities have reacted with alarm to the new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa, with the European Union and Britain tightening border controls, as scientists try and find out whether the Omicron variant is resistant to the vaccine.
It would take several weeks to determine the variant’s transmissibility and the effectiveness of the vaccines, the WHO said while cautioning countries against hastily imposing travel restrictions. “The WHO recommends that countries continue to apply a risk-based and scientific approach when implementing travel measures.”
It bears mentioning that South Africa is not the only country where the new variant has been detected as the Omicron Variant has been found in Israel as well in a person coming from Malawi; Botswana; Belgium and Hong Kong.