Omicron Variant: "Any complacency now will cost lives," says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Many of those who don’t die could be left battling long COVID, or post-COVID condition, a disease with debilitating, lingering symptoms that we are only beginning to understand, Tedros noted.
GENEVA: The Omicron variant has now been reported in 57 countries and the number is expected to continue growing. Certain features of Omicron, including its global spread and a large number of mutations, suggest it could have a major impact on the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, said Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"Exactly what that impact will be is still difficult to know. We are now starting to see a consistent picture of the rapid increase in transmission, although for now the exact rate of increase relative to other variants remains difficult to quantify," he said in a briefing on Wednesday.
It will therefore be important to monitor carefully what happens around the world, to understand whether Omicron can outcompete Delta.
"For that reason, we call on all countries to increase surveillance, testing, and sequencing. Our existing diagnostics work, both PCR and antigen-based rapid tests"
"Any complacency now will cost lives," Tedros noted.
"Many of those who don’t die could be left battling long COVID, or post-COVID condition, a disease with debilitating, lingering symptoms that we are only beginning to understand," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, according to the Union Health Ministry data, 9,419 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in a day on Wednesday, while the count of active cases stands at 94,742. The death toll due to the disease has climbed to 4,74,111.
Manindra Agarwal, IIT scientist involved in the mathematical projection of trajectory of COVID-19 has suggested that with Omicron, the third wave of coronavirus could peak by February in the country, but, he was reported by a national daily as saying that, it would be milder than the second wave.