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Omicron variant poses ‘very high’ global risk and is likely to spread, WHO warns

The World Health Organization is warning that there is a ‘very high’ global risk coming from the Covid-19 omicron variant.

On Monday, the WHO said in a statement that based on early research and evidence, the new variant could cause surges in cases and could have “severe consequences”.

Based on mutations having a higher chance of transmissibility, the organization said, “the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high. Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of COVID-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place.”

While scientists continue their research regarding the variant, the WHO encouraged countries  to keep pushing citizens to get vaccinated. Still, the organization and scientists worldwide know very little about the variant, like whether it causes more severe symptoms or spreads more quickly. 

The variant, which was discovered last week by scientists in South Africa, has already spread to several countries. Israel and Japan have banned foreigners from entering their borders and Morocco has cancelled all incoming flights. Several countries have also banned travelers from South Africa, if not the entire continent of Africa, from entering their borders, including the U.S. and the U.K.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NPR

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