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13 Dec 2021

WHO: Omicron Poses 'Very High' Risk but Data on Severity Limited

The Index Today

The Omicron coronavirus variant, was already reported in more than 60 countries, and tagged as a "very high" global risk, with some evidence present that it evades vaccine protection but clinical data on how sever this new variant is very limited, the World Health Organization says.

The WHO also said that the considerable uncertainties surrounding Omicron, first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong, whose mutations may lead to higher transmissibility and more cases of COVID-19 disease.

"The overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high for a number of reasons," it said, reiterating its first assessment of Nov. 29.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that at least one patient has died in the United Kingdom after contracting the Omicron variant.

The WHO said there were early signs that vaccinated and previously infected people would not build enough antibodies to ward off an infection from Omicron, resulting in high transmission rates and "severe consequences". It is still unclear whether Omicron is inherently more contagious than the globally dominant Delta variant, the WHO said.

©Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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