ECDC: High risk of the new omicron coronavirus variant spreading in Europe

Christmas tree - Brussels - BelgiumPhoto: AP Photo / Olivier Matthys
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There is a “high to very high” risk that the new omicron coronavirus variant will spread in Europe, according to a risk assessment from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The assessment from the ECDC states that “the general risk level for the EU/EEA area associated with the SARS-CoV-2 variant omicron is considered high to very high”.

The variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, has been detected in Israel in a person who traveled from Malawi, as well as in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Belgium.

In the same assessment, the ECDC notes that there is still “significant uncertainty associated with transmissibility, vaccine efficacy, risk of reinfection, and other omicron variant characteristics.”

Vaccines

If the existing corona vaccines do not protect against this variant, and if it is more contagious, the ECDC “considers the probability of further introduction and spread in the EU/EEA to be high.” 

The ECDC encourages countries to carry out sequencing and contact tracing of all confirmed cases and asks people to avoid traveling to affected areas.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the new virus variant as “worrying.” That means that omicron is in the same category as the widespread delta variant and the slightly weaker alpha, beta, and gamma variants.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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