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The G7 warned that the Omicron variant is ‘highly transmissible’ and requires ‘urgent measures’

The Omicron variant is “highly transmissible” and it requires “urgent action”, health ministers from the G7 countries warned on Monday after an emergency meeting called by London.

“Ministers praised South Africa’s exemplary work in detecting the variant and alerting others,” they added in a joint statement, underlining the “strategic relevance of ensure access to vaccines“.

“The ministers praised the exemplary work of South Africa in detecting the variant and alerting others,” they added, while lamenting the restrictions imposed on that nation.

Countries are beginning to analyze whether the current vaccines against COVID will be enough to stop the advance of the omicron variant. Photo: AP

The G7 countries also “recognized the strategic importance of guaranteeing access to vaccines “, “preparing” countries to receive the doses, providing “operational assistance, meeting our donation commitments, addressing misinformation about vaccines and supporting research and development.”

The G7 countries also commit to “continue to work closely with WHO and international partners to share information and monitor omicron.”

“The ministers promised to meet again in December,” they said. The new variant poses a “very high risk” worldwide, the World Health Organization had warned.

The list of countries in which it was detected is growing, especially in Europe, after the first cases were registered in southern African countries in November.

The appearance of the new variant has led many countries to implement travel restrictions to try to stop its advance. Doubts have also arisen regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Scientists advising the British government on its vaccination campaign recommended on Monday that a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all those over 18 years of age in the UK in an effort to increase protection against the omicron variant.

This booster dose, which until now was reserved for those over 40, should be offered three months after the second injection of the vaccine, instead of the current six, advised the experts of the joint committee on vaccination and immunization, JCVI, at a press conference.

News from South Africa

South African doctors have reported that COVID-19 cases attributed to the new Omicron variant show mostly mild symptoms.

Dr Unben Pillay, a general practitioner in Gauteng province, where 81% of new cases have been reported, says he has witnessed a rapid increase in new COVID-19 cases in the past 10 days.

He added that so far they have been very mild cases, in which patients show flu-like symptoms, a dry cough, fever, night sweats and a lot of body aches. Added that most have been cared for at home.

In addition, he noted that those vaccinated do much better than those not vaccinated.

The recent increase in South Africa has been in people around 20 and 30 years of age, and doctors emphasize that COVID-19 symptoms are usually mild in that age group.

Source: AFP and AP


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