Omicron Covid variant poses ‘very high’ global risk and is likely to spread, WHO warns

A doctor watches a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit of the community hospital in Germany.

The World Health Organization warned Monday that the variant of concern could have severe consequences for some areas if it spread.

The WHO said in its risk assessment on Monday that there is a high chance of further spread of Omicron at the global level.

There could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences depending on a number of factors. The U.N. health agency said that the global risk related to the new VOC Omicron is very high.

The variant B.1.1.529 was designated a "variant of concern" by the WHO last Friday.

It said in its report on Monday that it is a variant with a high number of mutations that may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.

It said that there are still uncertainties and unknowns regarding this variant.

First of all, experts don't know how transmissible the variant is and whether any increases are related to immune escape or both.

There is uncertainty over how well vaccines protect against infections, transmission and clinical disease of different degrees of severity and death. There is uncertainty over whether the variant presents with a different severity profile.

It will take weeks for the WHO to understand how the variant may affect diagnostics. The strain has an increased risk of reinfection, according to preliminary evidence.

Here is what we know so far about the Covid variant in southern Africa.

According to an analysis by the Financial Times, the variant is spreading in South Africa more rapidly than previous versions and that it could be triggering a new wave of infections.

The South African doctor who first raised the alarm over the new strain of omicron described the symptoms as mild.

The doctor who first spotted the omicron Covid variant explains the symptoms.

There have only been a small number of cases reported around the world so far, but it is important to remember.

The international community has already seen several increasingly virulent strains of Covid-19, first with the alpha variant and then thedelta variant, which is currently the globally dominant strain.

New vaccine variations are closely monitored to see if they might affect the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The WHO urged member states to increase their efforts to better understand variant, including omicron, and to increase community testing to detect if omicron is circulating in the community.

It called on member states to speed up Covid vaccinations, especially among high priority groups.

The news of a new variant spooked global markets last Friday but European markets climbed on Monday. The region has already been battling with a surge in infections caused by the delta variant, putting pressure on health services in a number of countries.

The WHO urged countries to put in place measures to prepare for a possible increase in Covid caseloads, and to make sure they have the necessary health care resources in place.