After S.Africa reports two new Omicron variants, WHO chief warns world is blind to Covid mutations

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
Geneva, Switzerland Updated: May 05, 2022, 07:14 PM(IST)

Globally, the number of newly reported cases and deaths has fallen to its lowest level since March 2020. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that while these trends are positive, they do not reveal the full picture. He pointed out that reported cases are rising in the Americas and Africa due to Omicron subvariants. Photograph:( AFP )

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COVID-19 has impacted South Africa harder than just about any other country on the continent, with approximately 3.8 million laboratory-confirmed infections and more than 100,000 deaths

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that we are blind to how coronavirus is mutating.

This comes after WHO announced that a spike in Covid cases in South Africa is being driven by two new sub-variants of Omicron.

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Omicron, the substantially mutated and highly transmissible variant of COVID-19, which was discovered in southern Africa in November of last year and quickly spread internationally, is currently the prevalent variety, accounting for nearly all new cases.

The most dominant of its sub-variants are BA.2, but now two new sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 are the reason for the current spike.

"We don’t know what’s coming next," said the WHO chief.

The UN health agency in its latest epidemiological report said that the sub-lineages "have acquired a few additional mutations that may impact their characteristics."

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However, as per Tedros, it is too soon whether the new sub-variants are more severe than the other Omicron sub-variants.

COVID-19 has impacted South Africa harder than just about any other country on the continent, with approximately 3.8 million laboratory-confirmed infections and more than 100,000 deaths.

In South Africa, where fewer than 45 per cent of adults have had two Covid inoculation injections, the virus has been falling, allowing the country to go two days in March without reporting any Covid deaths for the first time in nearly two years.

"The best way to protect people remains vaccination, alongside tried and tested public health and social measures," insisted Tedros on Wednesday.

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Globally, the number of newly reported cases and deaths has fallen to its lowest level since March 2020.

Tedros warned that while these trends are positive, they do not reveal the full picture. He pointed out that reported cases are rising in the Americas and Africa due to Omicron subvariants.

Global numbers have also dwindled as a result of significant reductions in testing for the virus, the WHO has cautioned.

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(With inputs from agencies)

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