DILI, 29 november 2021 (TATOLI)- The World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Director, Khetrapal Sigh urges countries in East Asia Region to be vigilant with the new Omicron Variant of COVID-19 after the WHO’s technical advisor has identified and designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern and named it Omicron.

“The WHO’s Technical advisor group has detected a new Omicron Variant of covid-19, therefore all the East Asia Region countries must scale up surveillance and strengthen public health, social measures and also enhance coverage of vaccination,” said Khetrapal Singh, the WHO Regional Director in a statement.

“Through the covid-19 cases that have been declining in most countries of our region. The surge in cases elsewhere in the world and confirmation of a new Variant of Concern is a reminder of the persisting risk and the need for us to continue to do our best to protect against the virus and prevent its spread,” 

According to Singh, countries must enhance surveillance and sequencing and assess the risk of important through international travel based, updated information about the circulating variants and response capacities, and take measures accordingly: “Comprehensive and tailored public health and social measures to prevent transmission must continue. The earlier the protective measures are implemented, the less restrictive they would need to be effective. The more covid-19 circulates, the more opportunities the virus will have to change and mutate, and the pandemic will last longer,”

In the same statement, she highlighted the most important thing that people need to do to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

“Wearing a mask with properly covering nose and mouth, Keep distance avoid poorly clean, cover cough and sneeze, and get vaccinated,” she said.

As of today, 31% of the Region’s population is fully vaccinated, 21% partially vaccinated while nearly 48% or about a billion people are yet to receive even a single dose of the Covid-19, they continue to be at risk of contracting severe disease due to the virus and spreading it further.

Meanwhile even After getting vaccinated, everyone must continue to take precautions to prevent becoming infected.

WHO’s Technical advisor group on virus evaluation has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern and named it Omicron.

It is understood by the researchers who are working on identifying the transmission or virulent this variant is, and how it will impact diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

“We must forget that the pandemic is far from over. As societies open up, we should not get complacent. Festivities and celebrations must include all precautionary measures. Crowds and large gatherings must be avoided. The current situation warrants further stepping up efforts on all fronts,” The regional Director Said.


Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá

Editor: Nelia Borges Rosario


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