Covid-19 Variant: WHO Urges Countries To Step Up Preventive Measures

WHO Academy, Lyon.

The World Health Organisation has urged countries across the world to step up preventive measures upon detection of a new covid-19 variant it named Omicron.

WHO made the announcement in a press statement on Friday, November 26, 2021.

TheFact Nigeria gathered that people believe the covid-19 report was a means of siphoning money from the government.

However, according to the statement, Omicron (the B.1.1.529 variant) was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November, 2021.

It further stated that the epidemiological situation in South Africa had been characterised by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant.

Alarmingly, in the same country, infections have increased steeply in recent weeks, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant.

It disclosed that the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.

WHO tagged Omicron a covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) variant of concern because it has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Also, preliminary evidence suggest an increased risk of reinfection with the variant, as compared to other Variants Of Concern.

The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant.

Hinged on these, the Organisation has urged countries to:

-Enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.

-Submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, such as GISAID.

-Report initial cases/clusters associated with Variant Of Concern (VOC) infection to WHO.

-Perform field investigations and laboratory assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, severity, effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostic methods, immune responses, antibody neutralisation, or other relevant characteristics.

Individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

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