World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Wednesday, spoke about the new COVID-19 variant and said that the world has a “toxic mix” of low vaccine coverage and very low testing a recipe for breeding and amplifying variants.
At a press briefing, Tedros said, “Globally, we have a toxic mix of low vaccine coverage, and very low testing a recipe for breeding and amplifying variants.
That’s why we continue to urge countries to fully fund the ACT Accelerator, to ensure equitable access to the vaccine, tests, and therapeutics all over the world.”
Tedros further added, “But if countries and individuals don’t do what they need to do to stop transmission of Delta, they won’t stop Omicron either.”
The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries so far and their number is expected to rise, Tedros said while adding the development “extremely seriously.”
Tedros said that WHO is learning more all the time about Omicron, but there’s still more to learn about its effect on transmission, the severity of disease, and the effectiveness of tests, therapeutics, and vaccines.
Meanwhile, recently, the head of the UN health agency also criticised “blunt” and “blanket” measures taken by countries in the past few days to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.
In a statement on Tuesday, the WHO Director-General said that it was “deeply concerning” that Botswana and South Africa, where the new variant was first identified, were “being penalized by others for doing the right thing”.
Dozens of countries have imposed travel bans on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered at the end of last week.