WHO say Delta measures will help fight Omicron

pharmafile | December 3, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications  

WHO officials have shared that COVID-19 health measures taken prior to the emergence of Omicron will also help combat the new variant of concern. Omicron has been reported in at least five US states and two dozen countries.

A case of the variant, predating the South African discovery, was also found in the Netherlands. 

Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, shared during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines: “The positive news in all this is that none of the information we have currently about Omicron suggests we need to change the direction of our response.” Kasai stated that travel restrictions can slow down transmission of the variant, but warned that “every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases.”

While a few countries in the Western Pacific region are facing surges, COVID-19 cases and deaths in many others have decreased and plateaued, shared Kasai. The WHO regional director stated that Omicron has been designated a variant of concern due to the high number of mutations, and because early information suggests a higher transmissibility than other variants of COVID-19.

WHO regional emergency director Babatunde Olowokure emphasised that established measures such as vaccinations, mask wearing, and social distancing all help: “Our experience of the last two years, especially in dealing with variants like Delta, provides a guide about what to do now, as well as how to cope with future surges in a more sustainable way.”

Kasai underlined that existing measures would continue to reduce spread of the variant, if implemented: “What is most important is to prepare for these variants with potential high transmissibility. So far, the information available suggests we don’t have to change our approach.”

Ana Ovey

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