The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is likely to spread internationally, posing a “very high” global risk of outbreaks of infections that could have “serious consequences” in some areas, the World Organization said on Monday. health (WHO).
The UN agency urged its 194 member states to speed up vaccination of high priority groups and, in anticipation of an increase in the number of cases, to “ensure that mitigation plans are in place” to maintain essential health services.
“Omicron has an unprecedented number of cutting edge mutations, some of which are of concern for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said. “The overall overall risk linked to the new variant… is assessed as very high. “
To date, no Omicron-related deaths have been reported, although more research is needed to assess Omicron’s potential to evade protection against vaccine-induced immunity and previous infections, he said. -he declares.
“The increase in cases, regardless of a change in severity, can place overwhelming demands on health systems and can lead to increased morbidity and mortality. The impact on vulnerable populations would be substantial, especially in countries with low vaccination coverage, ”he said.