The spread of the Omicron variant is raising concerns among the entire world as the new COVID-19 variant has spread to a lot of countries in a small period of time. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the variant has now been detected in 89 countries.
Apart from this, WHO on Sunday also said that the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly. The number of cases of the new COVID-19 variant is doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission, according to the global health agency.
WHO said in an update that the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly in countries with high levels of population immunity, but it is unclear if this is due to the virus's ability to evade immunity, its inherent increased transmissibility, or both.
Omicron variant has been classified as a variant of concern by WHO from November 26 this year, due to its rapid spread across the globe. Not much is known about the variant yet, including the severity of illnesses it causes and the exact symptoms.
In its official statement, the agency said, “There are still limited data on the clinical severity of Omicron.” WHO further added, “More data are needed to understand the severity profile and how severity is impacted by vaccination and pre-existing immunity."
"There are still limited available data, and no peer-reviewed evidence, on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness to date for Omicron,” the agency said. WHO also said that hospitals could soon get overwhelmed by patients due to the rising number of cases.
In its statement, WHO said, “Hospitalizations in the UK and South Africa continue to rise, and given rapidly increasing case counts, it is possible that many healthcare systems may become quickly overwhelmed.”
Till now, many countries have tightened their COVID-19 curbs and international travel guidelines. UK government has said that the country is in a situation of “emergency” while the Netherlands has imposed a lockdown for the Christmas and New Year period due to an increased number of cases.
(With Reuters inputs)