- The World Health Organization has confirmed that over 20 countries across the globe have detected the Omicron variant
- The WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has applauded South African and Botswana for reporting the new omicron variant
- Social media users say the punishment on South Africa has been unfair and have slammed travels bans that have been imposed
PAY ATTENTION: Follow Briefly News on Twitter and never miss the hottest topics! Find us at @brieflyza!
JOHANNESBURG - The World Health Organization has verified the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in at least 23 countries so far.
The organisation has heavily criticised countries that were quick to close their borders to Southern African countries after South Africa shared information about the discovery of the variant.
Speaking at a media briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said that he was deeply worried by how the rest of the world treated South Africa and Bostwana.
Covid19: Nigeria confirms 1st case of Omicron variant was discovered in test sample taken in October
He went on to thank the two countries for their discovery and reporting the variant, reports TimesLIVE.
Enjoy reading our stories? Download the BRIEFLY NEWS app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!
Ghebreyesus added that South Africa and Botswana are being punished by other nations for doing what was right and that is deeply concerning to him.
WHO slams travel bans on Southern Africa
Ghebreyesus said that the bans on travel have halted the progression of research because samples are taking much longer for samples to reach global laboratories.
He went on to say that a travel ban would stop the Omicron variant from spreading across the globe but will heavily impact the livelihoods of people, reports EWN.
Check out what social media users had to say about the discovery of the Omicron variant:
"Completely agree! Totally unprofessional indeed! Panic & emotions lead to nowhere! South African scientists did a superb job!"
"So the whole world even Africa will blame S.A travellers for the discovery of the omicron virus in their countries now SAHRC is letting us down now with their transparency in these things at first we were proclaimed to be owners of Delta variant in Africa they called it SA variant."
"Which part can't they understand, omicron is spread worldwide and to stop blaming SA."
"WHO first calls Omicron very high risk, then condemns countries for shutdowns. No one has an issue with how this organization is run?"
"And all those countries kept quiet about the virus and you punish Southern Africa for being transparent."
Unvaccinated people more likely to be hospitalised due to Omicron
Briefly News previously reported that Dr Waasila Jassat from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) briefed the Department of Health yesterday (29 November). During this briefing, she said that most patients hospitalised due to the Omicron variant are unvaccinated.
Covid19: 2 People tested positive for Omicron variant in Netherlands before South African flights arrived
The variant has so far presented itself as highly transmissible, but vaccinated people have reported milder symptoms than those who are not.
Dr Michelle Groome, the NICD's public health surveillance head, reports that new cases amount to just below 2 000 daily with 80% of cases being reported in Gauteng, particularly in younger people, Sunday Times writes.
Source: Briefly News