WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will speak at a press conference after the opening ceremony of the WHO Academy in Lyon, France, on September 27, 2021.
Dennis Bali Bose | Reuters
The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that the new Covid-19 omicron variant is spreading faster than any previous strain and is probably present in most countries of the world.
“Omicrons are spreading at a rate not seen in previous variants,” said WHO Executive Director Tedros Adanom Gebreyes. COVID Updated in Geneva. “Currently, cases of Omicron have been reported in 77 countries. In fact, Omicron is probably present in most countries, even if it has not yet been detected.”
Tedros said WHO is concerned that countries are dismissing Omicron as a mild variant. Although Omicron is highly contagious, it is not yet clear whether this strain causes milder or more severe illness than past variants of the virus.
“We’ve never seen that we underestimate this endangered virus,” Tedros said. “Even if Omicron causes a less serious illness, a huge number of cases can once again overwhelm the unprepared health system,” he said.
Tedros warned that vaccines alone could not protect the country from Omicron, emphasizing the importance of masks and social distance.
“It’s not a vaccine instead of a mask. It’s not a vaccine instead of distance. It’s not a vaccine instead of ventilation and hand hygiene. Do everything. Do it consistently. Do it well.” Mr. Tedros said.
Omicron variants significantly reduce protection against infection provided by Pfizer When BioNTech Two-dose vaccines, according to preliminary experimental data released by both companies last week.Oxford University scientists with Pfizer on Monday AstraZeneca Vaccines are not very effective against Omicron.
However, double-dose vaccines may still prevent serious illness. Pfizer and BioNTech have discovered that booster shots provide a significant level of protection against Omicron infections.
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergency Program, said mitigation measures such as masking and social distance cannot completely stop the virus infection, but reduce pressure on healthcare systems around the world. I said I would.
“If we all take these steps, we can’t stop the infection of Omicron and Delta. It’s very difficult to stop,” Ryan said in a briefing with Tedros. “But what we do is to critically reduce the power of infection. How we reduce that pressure wave and hopefully do not disrupt or disrupt our public health system. Overcome this wave. “
Governments around the world need to prepare for the wave of infection by ensuring that hospitals are staffed, triaged and oxygenated, Ryan said. He also said the government needed to keep pushing unvaccinated people to get immunity.
“The health system is actually weaker than it was a year ago,” he said. “Unfortunately, sometimes you can get up after the first punch, but it’s very difficult to get up after the second punch. It’s difficult. We have a medical system weakened by this reaction. Depends on your healthcare professional. “
Tedros said WHO is concerned that the expansion of boosters across the adult population by wealthy countries will exacerbate vaccine inequity around the world. He revealed that WHO is not opposed to giving boosters to people at risk of severe illness, but still the top priority is to vaccinate people who have not yet been shot. is.
The WHO director said that 41 countries have not yet been vaccinated against 10% of the population and 98 countries have not been vaccinated against 40% of the population.
“There is also significant inequality between population groups in the same country,” Tedros said. “If you allow the injustice to continue, you allow the pandemic to continue.”
According to Ryan, variants like Omicron spread before they are detected, so a total travel ban creates a false sense of security. The United States last month banned visitors from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
“Countries have the right to protect and protect themselves. They have the right to control borders. They do it for all other kinds of reasons,” Ryan said. “But it must be done in a way that allows the free movement of people, the human rights of individuals as much as possible, and the economic impact of such measures on the country.”
Omicron spreads faster than any other Covid variant, WHO warns
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