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WHO takes Omicron variant seriously - Chief

GENEVA, Nov 30 (KUNA) -- World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that the WHO takes the development of the emergence of a new variant, especially one as highly mutated as omicron, "extremely seriously," and so should all nations.
Tedros made the remark at a briefing of the 194 member states of the organization on the fresh Covid-19 variant "Omicron".
"And as I have said many times, the longer we allow the pandemic to drag on, by failing to address vaccine inequity, or to implement public health and social measures in a tailored and consistent way, the more opportunity we give this virus to mutate in ways we cannot predict or prevent," said Tedros.
He said there are more questions than answers about the effect of Omicron on transmission, the severity of disease, and the effectiveness of tests, therapeutics, and vaccines after the new variant was named last Friday.
The WHO chief urged all member states to adopt reasonable health and social precautions to slow the spreading of the new variant in line with relevant guidelines.
"We call on all member states to take rational, proportional risk-reduction measures, in keeping with the International Health Regulations," he said.
"We need to use the tools we already have to prevent transmission and save lives from the delta," the variant currently causing havoc worldwide, Tedros added. (end) ta.mt