Sunday, January 16

Omikron detected in 57 countries: – Do not wait. Now you have to act, says the WHO chief

Omikron is spreading in large parts of the world. That’s what WHO chief Tedros Adhanam Ghebreyesus says.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The case is being updated …

Omikron has been detected in 57 countries. That’s what Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), says.

– Life will be lost if we are complacent and do not take this seriously. Many who do not die can end up struggling with long-covid or late injuries, he says.

WHO informs about the omicron variant. It happens at a press conference on Wednesday.

– Now you have to act

Ghebreyesus says the number of countries receiving omicrons will increase.

– Do not wait. Now you have to act. Soon we will run out of ways to say this. But we will continue to say this: All countries’ governments must do what they can now. Use the tools you have, he says.

– Omikron will probably have a major impact on the future of the pandemic. But it is difficult to say what impact, he says.

– The measures countries put in place now and in the time to come will determine how omikron degenerates. If land waits until the hospitals fill up, it is too late.

– If land waits, it will be too late

– Omikron was discovered when there was little delta infection. Therefore, it had little competition. Now it remains to be seen if it can outcompete the delta, he says.

The variant probably carries a risk of reinfection, according to Ghebreyesus. He refers to figures from South Africa. But more data is needed to conclude, he says.

There are also signs that omicron gives milder symptoms than delta, according to the WHO. But it is too early to conclude, the WHO chief states.

– We are not defenseless against omikron or delta, says the WHO chief.

We can prevent omikron from becoming a global crisis if we act now, is Ghebreyesus’ message. WHO asks countries to do what they can to get more people vaccinated.

Follow closely

The WHO is now asking all countries to scale up the monitoring of the virus.

This is what the WHO is currently mapping:

  • how contagious omikron is
  • how serious the disease is
  • how immune you are as a vaccinated or previously infected person
  • how effective infection control measures are against the variant

Wants countries to lift restrictions on South Africa

Several countries have introduced travel restrictions to and from South Africa. The background is that this is where omikron was discovered.

France and Sweden lifted these restrictions. The WHO chief appreciates this.

– I urge all countries to do the same. To France and Switzerland: Merci beaucoup (thank you very much in French), he says.

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