- Amid ‘Omicron’ concerns, countries around the world are rushing to impose new travel restrictions.
- According to preliminary findings, Omicron may possess a greater risk of reinfection than other variants of concern (VAC): WHO
The new Covid-19 strain ‘Omicron’ has sparked worldwide concern, with countries around the world racing to impose new travel restrictions. The new strain has been discovered in South Africa and has now spread to more than ten countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia. Because of fears that the new strain would be more resistant to vaccination protection, there is a growing concern throughout the world that the pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions will last far longer than expected.
Here’s what the World Health Organization (WHO), the top UN health organisation, has to say about the Omicron variant and what countries and people should do to stay safe from the mutant virus.
Studies on Omicron has begun all over the world, although it is uncertain if this new Covid strain is more transmissible than previous strains such as Kappa, Alpha, Delta, etc.
What is the severity of Omicron?
According to preliminary studies, hospitalisation rates in South Africa are rising. This might be due to an increase in the overall number of people being affected by COVID-19, rather than a specific Omicron variant.
There is currently no evidence that symptoms related to the Omicron vary from those associated with other COVID strains.
Can the Omicron variant infect someone who is already infected with Covid-19?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Preliminary research shows that there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron variant, (i.e., those who have previously had COVID-19 may be more quickly reinfected with Omicron), compared to other variants of concern, although data is limited.
The efficacy of Omicron and the Covid-19 vaccination
WHO is working with technical partners to learn more about the possible impact of this mutation on current Covid-19 vaccines.
Omicron Covid-19 variant medications
Corticosteroids and IL6 Receptor Blockers will continue to be useful in the treatment of people with severe COVID-19. Other treatments, however, will be evaluated, according to the WHO.
What should countries do?
Because Omicron has been designated as a Variant of Concern, several measures are recommended for governments to take, including increased monitoring and sequencing of cases, as well as exchanging genome sequences on publicly accessible databases.
According to a circular issued by WHO, “Countries should continue to use a risk analysis and a science-based approach to undertake effective public health measures to reduce COVID-19 circulation altogether. They should build some public health and medical capacity to deal with an increase in cases. WHO offers countries assistance and direction in terms of both readiness and response.”
How an individual can protect against the new Covid-19 variant?
Individuals can take the most effective steps to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus by keeping a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others; wearing a well-fitting mask; avoiding poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow or tissue; opening windows to improve ventilation; keeping hands clean, and getting vaccinated when their turn comes.