The brand new Covid-19 Omicron variant poses a “very excessive” threat globally, the World Well being Group warned Monday, stressing that uncertainties remained about how contagious and harmful the pressure was.
“If one other main surge of Covid-19 takes place pushed by Omicron, penalties could also be extreme,” WHO mentioned in a technical observe, including although that “thus far, no deaths linked to Omicron variant have been reported.”
The World Well being Group on Friday declared the recently-discovered B.1.1.529 pressure of Covid-19, first detected in southern Africa, to be a variant of concern and renamed it Omicron.
The classification places Omicron into the most-troubling class of Covid-19 variants, together with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
Nations rushed to ban flights to gradual the unfold of Omicron on Friday, whereas inventory markets and oil costs plunged on fears surrounding the variant, probably dealing a heavy blow to the worldwide financial restoration.
“Primarily based on the proof offered indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology… the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern (VOC), named Omicron,” the UN well being company mentioned in an announcement.
The WHO mentioned it may take a number of weeks to finish research of Omicron to see if there are any adjustments in transmissibility, severity or implications for Covid vaccines, checks and coverings.