Omicron Will Not Be The Last Covid-19 Variant, Warns WHO Expert

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 24): New Covid-19 variants are expected, and it is not a wise move to lift all of the pandemic-related restrictions for now.

In an interview with BBC’s Sunday Morning show on Sunday (Jan 23), American infectious disease epidemiologist and World Health Organization (WHO) Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said that the world is not out of the woods with the Omicron variant.

“We still need to wear masks, work from home and socially distance ourselves,” she added.

Van Kerkhove also said that new variants are expected, adding that it would not be wise to lift all restrictions.

“This virus is still evolving. It’s still changing. And we need to change with it.

“So, what we are thinking is how we adjust into this third year, what are we going to do in terms of increasing vaccination coverage but at the same time drive transmission down.

“It will not end with the latest wave — this Omicron — and it will not be the last variant that you will hear us speaking about unfortunately.

Meanwhile, Van Kerkhove highlighted that despite nearly 10 billion doses of vaccines administered worldwide, there are still around three billion people who had yet to receive any vaccination, and there are still highly susceptible populations.

She also reiterated that while there is a narrative that Omicron is mild, it is not the case.

“Omicron is not mild. It is less severe than Delta but it is still putting people in hospitals, in particular the vulnerable groups. But because the virus is circulating so intensely around the world, this puts pressure on the virus to change,” she noted.

Van Kerkhove cautioned that while there is a suggestion that Omicron will be the last of the pandemic, that is however not true.

“There is also a suggestion that future variants will be less severe, but that’s not a certainty. We expect more variants to emerge, which will be more fit, more transmissible,” she explained.

Source: https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/omicron-will-not-be-last-covid19-variant-warns-who-expert

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