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Omicron variant poses ‘very excessive’ international threat, ‘unprecedented variety of spike mutations’: WHO

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The COVID-19 omicron variant has an “unprecedented variety of spike mutations” and poses a “very excessive” international threat, the World Well being Group mentioned Monday.

Due to fears that the brand new variant has the potential to be extra immune to the safety supplied by vaccines, there are rising considerations all over the world that the pandemic and related lockdown restrictions will persist for much longer than hoped.

“The general international threat associated to the brand new variant of concern omicron is assessed as very excessive,” the WHO mentioned, based on Reuters. The well being physique mentioned nations ought to be sure that there are “mitigation plans in place” to cope with a rise in new {cases}. Scientists are working to find out how efficient vaccines are in stopping infections with the brand new variant.


The U.Okay. on Saturday tightened its guidelines on mask-wearing and on testing of worldwide arrivals after discovering two {cases}. New {cases} have been confirmed Saturday in Germany and Italy, with Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong additionally reporting that the variant has been present in vacationers.

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A gaggle of ladies present their COVID passports as they enter La Belle Angele nightclub on November 25, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Picture by Peter Summers/Getty Photos)

On Monday, Scotland reported six {cases} of the variant and have began contact tracing in an effort to “set up the origin of the virus and any additional people they could have come into contact with in latest weeks,” Humza Yousaf, the Scottish well being secretary mentioned, based on Reuters. Portuga additionally recorded 13 {cases} of the brand new variant.

A passenger wearing personal protective equipment queues to check-in for a flight at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on November 29, 2021, as countries across the globe shut borders and renewed travel curbs in response to the spread of a new, heavily mutated Covid-19 coronavirus variation. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) 

A passenger sporting private protecting gear queues to check-in for a flight on the Kuala Lumpur Worldwide Airport on November 29, 2021, as nations throughout the globe shut borders and renewed journey curbs in response to the unfold of a brand new, closely mutated Covid-19 coronavirus variation. (Picture by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s high infectious ailments professional, mentioned Sunday that he wouldn’t be stunned if the omicron variant was already in america, too.


“We’ve got not detected it but, however when you will have a virus that’s displaying this diploma of transmissibility … it nearly invariably is finally going to go basically throughout,” Fauci mentioned on NBC tv.

The variant has a excessive variety of spike mutations that would have an effect on transmissibility and immune response, Ravindra Gupta, a professor of scientific microbiology on the College of Cambridge, mentioned.

The WHO’s warning comes a day after Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a board member of the South African Medical Affiliation who first alerted authorities to the presence of the omicron variant, that it presents “uncommon however delicate” signs. 

“Their signs have been so totally different and so delicate from these I had handled earlier than,” Coetzee instructed The Telegraph

Fox Information’ Peter Aiken and the Related Press contributed to this report

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