'If that happens to kill somebody...': UK expert's warning over Omicron variant

  • Omicron has prompted countries across the globe to tighten travel restrictions as uncertainty over the new B.1.1.529 variant grows.
The new coronavirus variant Omicron has emerged in some countries, leading to concerns worldwide. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE )
The new coronavirus variant Omicron has emerged in some countries, leading to concerns worldwide. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE )
Published on Dec 02, 2021 07:16 AM IST
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Amid the global concern over the Omicron variant, UK’s top epidemiologist has warned people against assuming that the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) evolve into a milder infection. Neil Ferguson, the head of the disease outbreak analysis and modelling group at Imperial College London, told British parliamentarians that the threat posed by the Omicron variant will not be clear until the end of December, The Guardian reported.

“The virus cares about replicating very fast within the respiratory tract and getting out into the environment. If that happens to kill somebody 10 days later the virus really doesn’t care,” Ferguson, who influenced the governments’ response around the world with his initial Covid-19 modelling, said.

Omicron has prompted countries across the globe to tighten travel restrictions as uncertainty over the new B.1.1.529 variant grows. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned over the inequitable access of vaccines and overall low vaccine coverage globally as the highly transmissible Deta variant remains the dominant variant worldwide.

"Globally, we have a toxic mix of low vaccine coverage, and very low testing -- a recipe for breeding and amplifying variants," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"We need to use the tools we already have to prevent transmission and save lives from Delta. And if we do that, we will also prevent transmission and save lives from Omicron," he added.

Covid in Chandigarh: South Africa returnee, wife have mild symptoms

Meanwhile, the United States has confirmed its first case of Omicron variant in a traveller who has recently returned from South Africa. Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said the traveller, who returned from South Africa on November 22, was fully vaccinated against Covid and all his contacts have tested negative.

"We feel good that this patient not only had mild symptoms but actually the symptoms appear to be improving," Fauci said.

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