Prepare for spread of Omicron, WHO alerts countries

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to prepare for the possible spread of Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant.

Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesperson, who spoke in Geneva yesterday, said it would take two weeks before more is known about how transmissible and how dangerous the variant is.

Lindmeier advised against the implementation of blanket travel bans, except for countries whose health systems are unable to withstand a surge in infections.

“It is much more preferred to prepare your country, your health system for possible incoming cases because we can be pretty sure that this Omicron variant will spread around,” he said.

“This is how this virus behaves and we will most likely not be able to keep it out of individual countries.”

The WHO official also cautioned against decisions that are induced by fear and not backed by scientific research and evidence.

“Let’s not get deterred right now, let us first get as much information as possible to make the correct risk assessment based on the information that we will have and then let’s move on,” he said.

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