New omicron variant detected in 57 countries: WHO

The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 57 countries so far, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

"Even if the severity is equal or potentially even lower than for delta variant, it is expected that hospitalizations will increase if more people become infected and that there will be a time lag between an increase in the incidence of cases and an increase in the incidence of deaths," the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological report.

The report said more data is needed to assess whether the omicron variant may result in reduced protection from vaccines.

"Vaccine effectiveness studies are vital to understand how vaccines protect against infection, symptomatic and severe disease, and death," it added.

Omicron is the fifth SARS-CoV-2 variant designated as a Variant of Concern by WHO, following the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants.


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