WHO says measures against delta should be applied to omicron
Officials of the World Health Organization said on Friday that even in the face of the new omicron version of the virus, measures used to combat the delta variant should still be the basis for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, while acknowledging that travel restrictions imposed by some countries may buy time.
Although approximately 30 countries around the world have reported omicron infections, including India on Thursday, so far there are few numbers outside of South Africa. South Africa is facing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, and new variants may become dominant. Nevertheless, there is still much unclear about omicron, including whether it is as more contagious as some health authorities suspect, whether it will make people sicker, or whether it can evade vaccine protection.
The WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr. Takeshi Takeshi told reporters at a virtual press conference on Friday: “Border control can delay the entry of the virus and buy time. But every country and every community must act for the surge in new cases. Get ready.” From the Philippines. “The good news for all of this is that the information we currently have about omicron does not indicate that we need to change the direction of our response.”
Dr. Babatunde Olowokure, WHO’s regional emergency director, said that this means continuing to promote measures such as increasing vaccination rates, complying with social distancing guidelines, and wearing masks.
He added that the health system must “ensure that we treat the right patients at the right time and in the right place, so that ICU beds are available, especially for those who need them.”
Kasai warned: “We cannot be complacent.”
The World Health Organization has previously urged not to close borders, noting that they are usually of limited effectiveness and can cause major damage. Southern African officials who first discovered the omicron variant condemned the restrictions on travelers from the region, saying they were punished for warning the world about the mutant.
Kasai said that scientists are working hard to learn more about omicron, and because of the number of mutations and early information that it may spread more easily than other variants, it has been designated as a worrying variant.
Kasai said that although COVID-19 cases and deaths in many other countries have decreased or stabilized, some countries in the Western Pacific region are facing a surge that began before omicron was identified. But this may change.
The places where the variant was found in the region include Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia-and it may appear in more places.
The organizers of the Beijing Winter Olympics, about two months from now, are particularly concerned about the emergence of European and American lights.
Organizing committee spokesman Zhao Weidong told reporters at a press conference on Friday that Beijing is taking a series of measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading during the Olympics.
China adopts a zero tolerance policy for the spread of COVID-19 and has the strictest border controls in the world. Olympic participants must live and compete in a bubble. Only Chinese residents and spectators who have been vaccinated and tested can enter the venue.
Kasai said that globally, cases have increased for seven consecutive weeks, and deaths have begun to rise again, mainly due to the reduced use of protective measures in delta variants and other parts of the world.
“We shouldn’t be surprised to see more surges in the future. As long as the spread continues, the virus will continue to mutate, as evidenced by the emergence of omicron, reminding us to be vigilant,” Kasai said.
He specifically warned that there may be a surge due to more gatherings and movement of people during the holidays. In addition to COVID-19, the northern winter may also bring other infectious respiratory diseases, such as influenza.
“Obviously, this epidemic is far from over, and I know people are worried about omicron,” Kasai said. “But my message today is that we can adjust the way we manage this virus to better respond to future surges and reduce the impact on health, society, and the economy.”