Be Ready For Omicron-Driven Surge In Infections: WHO Warns Asia-Pacific

New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Asia-Pacific countries on Friday to boost healthcare capacity and fully vaccinate their people to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spreads globally despite travel curbs, Reuters reported.

Many governments have tightened travel rules to keep the new variant out, but the WHO’s warning to the Asia-Pacific, a region of about 650 million people, stressed that border controls could only buy them time.

While Australia became the latest country to report community transmission of the new variant, a day after it was found locally in five US states, Omicron started gaining a foothold in Asia this week, with cases reported in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

Australia’s chief medical officer said Omicron was likely to become the dominant variant globally within months, but at this stage, there was no evidence it was any more dangerous than Delta which swept the world earlier this year.

“I suspect within the (next few) months, Omicron will be the new virus in the world,” Paul Kelly, the top medical advisor to the Australian government, told reporters.

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