File photo Photograph:( AFP )
While the world was already struggling to battle against the deadly coronavirus, the Omicron variant has added on to the misery
The World Health Organization on Monday warned that the newly discovered Covid-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk globally.
"If another major surge of Covid-19 takes place driven by Omicron, consequences may be severe," WHO said. It further added, "to date, no deaths linked to Omicron variant have been reported."
While the world was already struggling to battle against the deadly coronavirus, the Omicron variant has added on to the misery.
WHO has designated it as a "variant of concern". According to the UN health body, a variant of concern demonstrates an "increase in transmissibility" or "detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology".
The WHO had earlier classified Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta as variants of concern.
Global authorities reacted with panic to the new variant detected in South Africa, with several imposing travel curbs and tightening border controls.
Early research on the Omicron variation shows that there may be an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, meaning that those who have previously been infected with the deadly coronavirus may be more readily reinfected, although data is limited.
Vaccines, notably those against the major circulating form, Delta, are crucial in decreasing severe illness and mortality, according to the WHO. Also, WHO is collaborating with technical partners to determine the impact of this variation on current countermeasures, such as vaccinations.
(With inputs from agencies)