Grappling with the very idea of fighting a new variant of the coronavisrus the concerns among nations have grown manifold. The issue has attained significance because world health organization too marked the new variant as global risk with severe consequences.
The WHO has said that the risk from the omicron variant is very high based on early evidence and said that considerable uncertainties remain about the variant that was first detected days ago in southern Africa.
The new variant seems to be more complex as it is possible the variant has mutations that could enable it to escape an immune-system response and boost its ability to spread from one person to another.
Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of COVID-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors, including where surges may take place.
The WHO warning comes as a widening circle of countries around the world reported cases of the variant and moved to slam their doors shut while scientists race to figure out just how dangerous this version might be.
Various countries have already taken a harsh step as they have decided to close their doors to all foreign visitors. Japan and Israel have already announced measures in this regard.
Other countries, including the U.S. and European Union members, have moved to prohibit travelers arriving from southern Africa even as India is also contemplating to revisit its decision of opening flights to the various world destinations from December.
If the virus proves dangerous as feared, the impact on vulnerable populations would be substantial, particularly in countries with low vaccination coverage. Unfortunately, Africa remains a concern where a little chunk of population is vaccinated and the arrival of a new variant can create havoc.
While the initial global response to COVID-19 was criticized as slow and haphazard, the reaction to the new variant came quickly. Countries across the globe are taking no chances at all and even measures that seem harsh have been ensured so that the new variant does not make its arrival fast and damage the good work that has been over the months against the covid-19.
Importantly, the restrictions imposed in many countries could provide valuable time to analyze the new variant. Little is known about it, including whether it is more contagious, more likely to cause serious illness or more able to evade vaccines.
So far, doctors in South Africa are reporting patients are suffering mostly mild symptoms, but they warn that it is still early. Also, most of the new cases are in people in their 20s and 30s, who generally do not get as sick from COVID-19 as older patients.
This may be the silver lining in the cloud but nobody can take chances against the deadly covid-19 which crippled the world for almost 18 months at a stretch. As for now the people need to act cautious and take all measures and follow covid SOP’s announced from time to time.