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Omicron May Fuel Surges, WHO Warns Amid Transmission Concern

  • South African scientists say variant may be more transmissible
  • WHO cautions the variant’s risks are “extremely high”
Updated on

The World Health Organization warned that the new coronavirus variant could fuel surges with “severe consequences” amid signs that it makes Covid-19 more transmissible. 

Scientists in South Africa, where omicron was first detected, said it appears to spread more easily but existing vaccines are still likely to protect against severe illness. The Geneva-based WHO assessed the variant’s risk as “extremely high” and called on member states to test widely. Understanding the new strain will take several days or weeks, the agency said.