The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed the Omicron COVID variant has now spread to 77 countries.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, made this known on Wednesday during a virtual media briefing.
According to Ghebreyesus: “Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant. We’re concerned that people are dismissing Omicron as mild,”
“Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems.
“I need to be very clear: vaccines alone will not get any country out of this crisis. Countries can – and must – prevent the spread of Omicron with measures that work today. It’s not vaccines instead of masks. It’s not vaccines instead of distancing. It’s not vaccines instead of ventilation or hand hygiene. Do it all. Do it consistently. Do it well.
“Vaccines are tools that have the greatest impact when they are used to protect those who are most at risk, in all countries.”