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Potential spread of new Omicron strain at global level is high – WHO

The likelihood of potential further spread of the new Omicron Coronavirus strain at the global level is high, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, November 29, 2021.

Omicron variant
Omicron variant

“Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” the WHO said in its latest technical paper on the strain.

It said, depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of COVID-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place.

“The overall global risk related to the new VOC Omicron is assessed as very high.

“To date, no deaths associated with the new OMICRON Coronavirus strain have been registered.

“Due to the risk of importation by incoming travelers from locations experiencing Omicron transmission, countries may increase sampling from inbound travelers.

“Positive RT-PCR samples should be sequenced to confirm presence of the Omicron,’’ WHO said.

It also recommended that national testing strategies be updated to include available diagnostic tools for rapid testing, reporting and effective decentralisation of testing, as well as countries be ready to tighten social and sanitary measures to counter the virus.

The organisation said in spite of the uncertainties, it is reasonable to assume that currently available vaccines offer some protection against severe disease and death.

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