The Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads much faster than the Delta strain in countries where community transmission is documented, with a doubling time of 1.5 to 3 days, the World Health Organization announced on Saturday.
The Omicron variant, which was identified as a variant of concern on November 26, has been identified in 89 countries across the six WHO regions as of December 16, he said.
Omicron is spreading rapidly in countries with high population immunity, but it is not known whether this is due to the virus’s ability to evade immunity, its inherent increased transmissibility, or a combination of the two, WHO said in an update.
“There is still limited data on the clinical severity of Omicron,” the WHO said. âMore data is needed to understand the severity profile and how severity is affected by vaccination and pre-existing immunity. “
He added: “There is still limited data available and no peer-reviewed evidence on the efficacy or efficacy of the vaccine to date for Omicron.”
The WHO has warned that with the rapid increase in cases, hospitals could be overwhelmed in some places.
âHospitalizations in the UK and South Africa continue to rise, and given the rapid increase in the number of cases, it is possible that many health systems will be quickly overwhelmed. “
Seven to 10% of new confirmed cases of coronavirus in France are suspected to be of the new variant Omicron, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Saturday.
He said the rapid spread of the new variant was the main reason for the planned introduction of a new vaccination pass early next year, which will require people to show proof of vaccination to enter. restaurants and long-distance public transport.
Under current health pass regulations, a recent negative Covid test is sufficient to enter public places. France is also expected to curb New Year celebrations.
New York State has reported a one-day record of more than 21,000 infections as the spread of the Omicron variant accelerates in the United States.
London declares ‘major incident’ to aid hospitals
Britain on Saturday reported an increase in cases of the rapidly spreading variant of the coronavirus Omicron, and the mayor of London declared a “major incident” to help hospitals in the capital following a sharp increase in admissions of Covid-19.
The total number of registered Omicron cases across the country reached nearly 25,000 at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, up more than 10,000 cases from 24 hours earlier, the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA ) in its latest data. Seven people suspected of having had the Omicron variant had died on Thursday, compared with one death in previous UKHSA data which dated back to Tuesday. Hospitalizations of people suspected of having the variant increased from 65 to 85.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident” – which allows for closer coordination between different public agencies and possibly more support from central government – as admissions to Covid-19 hospital in the city have increased by almost 30% this week. He said the absences of health workers had also increased.
Sky News said government ministers were briefed on the latest coronavirus data on Saturday. The Times newspaper reported that officials were preparing a draft of new rules which, if introduced, would ban indoor mixing in England except for work for two weeks after Christmas, when pubs and restaurants would be limited to serving at table outside.
People could gather in groups of up to six outside, the newspaper said. But ministers had yet to formally review the plans, the Times said.
Local cases in China peak this month
China reported 125 new cases of the coronavirus for Friday, including 89 local, according to the National Health Commission.
This is the largest daily tally of local infections since November 30, when the country had 91 national cases, all in Inner Mongolia. The nation faces increased pressure as it seeks to root out recent outbreaks of the Delta variant, while also detecting its first Omicron cases, putting its Covid Zero approach to the test.
The latest outbreak has forced the closure of more than a dozen factories in the eastern manufacturing hub of Zhejiang province, China’s epicenter.
Separately, Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales reported a record 2,482 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, a day after relaxing international arrival rules for vaccinated travelers.