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Friday, December 9, 2022

Omicron will not be the last Covid-19 variant, WHO warns

NewsOmicron will not be the last Covid-19 variant, WHO warns

While there are rumours that the Omicron variant may be the last Covid-19 variant given that it appeared much weaker compared to other versions of the coronavirus, World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned that Omicron will not be the final variant of Covid-19.

According to CNBC, WHO said it could likely be the opposite as high levels of infection around the world will likely lead to new variants as the virus mutates, adding that it is far from being over.

“We’re hearing a lot of people suggest that omicron is the last variant, that it’s over after this. And that is not the case because this virus is circulating at a very intense level around the world,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead said.

Source: Forbes

It was further stated by WHO that the number of infections globally has increased by 20% in the past week, with nearly 19 million total reported cases. Van Kerkhove added that the possibility of having new infections is probably much higher than what is being officially reported.

Another senior WHO official, Dr Bruce Aylward had shared the same opinion where high levels of transmission give the virus more opportunity to replicate and mutate, raising the risk that a new variant will emerge.

Source: Straits Times

“We don’t fully understand the consequences of letting this thing run,” Aylward said.

“Most of what we’ve seen so far in areas of uncontrolled transmission has been we paid a price for the variants that emerge and new uncertainties we have to manage as we go forward.”

With that, Van Kerkhove urge authorities worldwide to continue imposing public measures such as wearing a face mask and practice physical distancing. She also called on governments to strengthen those measures to bring the virus under better control and head off future waves of infection as new variants emerge.

“If we don’t do this now, we will move on to the next crisis,” Van Kerkhove said.

“And we need to end the crisis that we are currently in and we can do that at the present time. So don’t abandon the science. Don’t abandon the strategies that are working, that are keeping us and our loved ones safe,” she added.

In addition, she urge the governments to invest more in surveillance systems to track the virus as it mutates. “This won’t be the last variant of concern,” she stressed.

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