15 countries and spreading: Where has the Omicron variant been spotted
A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different coronavirus strain - later identified as Omicron - said on Sunday that its symptoms were so far mild and could be treated at home.
The Omicron variant of coronavirus is being feared upon due to its increased transmissibility and possible resistance to vaccines. Since being detected in southern Africa earlier this month, the cases of the new variant have been spotted in more than a dozen countries.
Africa has been facing a travel ban from a number of countries, an action that its government has called “knee-jerk and unjustified”. The United States, the UK and many other nations have stopped their flights to that part of the world.
Meanwhile, Canada reported its first case of Omicron on Sunday in two people. France’s health ministry also said om Sunday that eight new Omicron cases have surfaced in the country.
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France is facing the fifth wave of the coronavirus disease and recorded more than 31,000 cases on Sunday. Majority of them are in the intensive care units (ICUs) of hospitals.
Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium were among the countries where Omicron reached early on.
Here is the full list of countries where cases have been reported till now:
A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different coronavirus strain said on Sunday that symptoms of Omicron were so far mild and could be treated at home.
Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of South African Medical Association, told news agency Reuters that unlike with Delta, so far patients have not reported loss of smell or taste and there has been no major drop in oxygen levels with the new variant.
The new variant has also thrown a spotlight on huge disparities in vaccination rates around the globe. Even as many developed countries are giving third-dose boosters, less than 7% of people in poorer countries have received their first COVID-19 shot, according to medical and human rights groups.