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November 27, 2021 11:31 am
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WHO Names New Strand ‘Omicron,’ Labeling it as ‘Variant of Concern’

avatar by i24 News

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 18, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah Beier/File Photo

i24 News – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday named the new Covid variant detected in South Africa “Omicron” and designated it as a “variant of concern,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms.

Preliminary evidence suggested there is an increased risk of reinfection and there had been a “detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology,” it said in a statement after a closed meeting of independent experts who reviewed the data.

The WHO warned against any overreaction before the variant was better understood, yet Europe and the United States feared the worst nearly two years after Covid emerged and triggered a pandemic that killed over 5 million around the globe.

Washington joined the EU and Canada in imposing travel restrictions on visitors from several southern African states.

The emergence of the new variant highlights what experts described as the “hoarding” of vaccines by rich countries, as fewer than 6% of people in Africa have been fully immunized against the virus.

US President Joe Biden said other countries need to match US “generosity” and donate more Covid vaccines, or the pandemic will not be stopped.

“This pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations,” he said in a statement from Nantucket, where he was spending the Thanksgiving holiday.

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