World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday identified the new strain of coronavirus as Omicron. The WHO said that the new strain was 'a variant of concern.' The new strain was detected in South Africa. The virus has been seen to show more mutations - over 30 - than previous variants and is feared to be more dangerous.
Omicron (B.1.1.529), a new SARS-CoV-2 variant has been designated as Variant of Concern (VOC) by the World Health Organisation. Overall, it is the fifth VOC and the first since the Delta (B.1.617) variant. Omicron was first detected from the samples collected in South Africa (09 Nov) and Botswana (11 Nov). In the days which followed, South Africa witnessed a steep rise in the new COVID-19 cases alongside detection of the new variant.
Omicron is ‘an apparent cocktail of all previous mutations’ and that partly explains the descriptions for this variant with multiple superlatives even by scientists, an exaggerated response by some countries, is being responded with fear and ‘knee jerk' reactions of the sudden closure of air travels.
In a period of fewer than two weeks since the first detection, B.1.1.529 became the most circulating variant in a few provinces of South Africa, which indicates higher transmissibility.
Here's a list of countries that have reported cases of the new Covid-19 variant:
Meanwhile, at least 69 countries and territories have imposed travel restrictions in response to the spreading Omicron variant, according to data.