Prepare for Omicron surge, WHO warns Asia-Pacific nations

03-12-2021 Fri 15:48 IST | IANS | Health
Prepare for Omicron surge, WHO warns Asia-Pacific nations

New Delhi, Dec 3:  The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday warned that countries in the Asia-Pacific region need to strengthen healthcare services and focus on vaccinating their people, as the Omicron variant spreads globally and enters new regions.

In a virtual briefing, Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the western Pacific, said that it is clear that this pandemic is far from over.

"I know that people are worried about Omicron. I understand. My message to you today is that we can adapt the way we manage this virus to better cope w/ future surges and reduce their health, social and economic impact," he said.

"We can adapt, so that #COVID19 has less impact on our lives in 2022, and we can start to regain - and hopefully retain - a sense of normality," he added.

Omicron cases have now been reported in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, and new cases are being documented with each passing hour.

"People should not only rely on border measures. What is most important is to prepare for these variants with potential high transmissibility. So far the information available suggests we don't have to change our approach," he said during the virtual media briefing.

South Korea on Friday decided to tighten anti-virus measures from next week amid a surging number of Covid-19 cases and an emerging worry about the potentially more transmissible Omicron variant.

In India, after detection of the first two cases of Omicron infection in Bengaluru, the Karnataka Health department is now worried over 10 South African nationals, who have gone untraceable in Bengaluru.

A total of 10 persons suspected to be infected with Omicron Covid variant have been admitted to Delhi's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital (LNJP).

The new super-mutant Omicron variant of Covid-19 can increase risk of reinfection by three times as compared to other variants of concern such as Beta and Delta, according to a preliminary study by South African researchers.


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