COVID-19 and the new variant Omicron
New variant of COVID-19 was named as Omicron by WHO on 26 November 2021. During 24 to 30 January 2022, although the number of new COVID-19 cases remained similar to the previous week, the number of new deaths increased by 9%. Globally, over 370 million confirmed cases and over 5.6 million deaths have been reported as of 30 January 2022. Among six WHO regions, the number of new weekly deaths continued to increase in the South-East Asia Region (41%), the Eastern Mediterranean Region (32%) and the Region of the Americas (16%).
Together with national authorities, institutions and researchers, WHO routinely assesses whether the variants of SARS-CoV-2 alter transmission or impact effectiveness of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or public health and social measures (PHSM). Depending on the risk posed to global public health, potential variants of concern (VOCs), variants of interest (VOIs) or variants under monitoring (VUMs) are regularly assessed. National authorities are encouraged to investigate and report on the impacts of these variants.
Currently, SARS-CoV-2 is characterized by the continued rapid global spread of the Omicron variant. All other variants, including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Lambda and Mu continue to decline across all six WHO regions.
(Author: Padauk May, MOH, NUG)