Editorial: No panic please

The world should not panic about the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 but it should prepare, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the situation now was very different to a year ago.Omicron has been found in close to 40 countries. It is still unclear if the highly mutated variant is more transmissible or better able to evade vaccines.

We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic, because we’re in a different situation to a year ago, tge senior scientist said. Countries around the world have announced travel bans against southern African countries in the wake of Omicron’s first detection. US officials have made it compulsory for all international travellers to the US to take a Covid test no more than one day before travel. It comes after authorities tightened US travel rules in light of the variant.

Omicron has now been detected in at least six US states including Hawaii, where officials said the case had no recent travel history. Health officials in the UK are working on accelerating the rollout of booster jabs.

The emergence of the new variant comes as European countries are already grappling with a surge in infections. India too should be on high alert.


NT Bureau