WHO confirms Omicron Covid-19 variant in 23 countries. Here’s the full list

  • WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday spoke against blanket travel ban on affected nations amid Omicron, and said screening passengers, and mandatory quarantine of international travellers, can help in checking the Covid-19 variant from spreading.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it takes the spread of Omicron Covid-19 variant in 23 countries is “extremely seriously” and that “every country” should do do too.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it takes the spread of Omicron Covid-19 variant in 23 countries is “extremely seriously” and that “every country” should do do too.
Published on Dec 01, 2021 11:28 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Omicron Covid-19 variant, which was discovered in southern Africa last month, has now spread to as many as 23 countries, the director-general of World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Ghebreyesus said the countries hail from five or six WHO regions, and that the number is only expected to climb up. “WHO takes this development extremely seriously, and so should every country,” he added.

The WHO chief stated that the discovery of the Omicron Covid-19 variant should not “surprise us” since this is what viruses do and coronavirus will also do “as long as we allow it to continue spreading.”

Also Read | WHO warns against 'toxic mix' of low vaccine coverage and testing amid Omicron scare

“We are learning more all the time about Omicron, but there’s still more to learn about its effect on transmission, severity of disease, and the effectiveness of tests, therapeutics and vaccines,” Ghebreyesus told at a press briefing.

Reiterating the WHO’s message on not imposing blanket travel bans on travellers coming from affected countries, the United Nations (UN) health agency chief noted that countries should instead adopt “rational, proportional risk-reduction measures, in keeping with the international health regulations.”

Ghebreyesus pointed out that screening passengers before travelling and/or upon arrival at the airport, and mandatory quarantine of international travellers are some ways to check the spread of the Omicron variant in place of blanket travel bans.

His statements come after South Africa health minister Joe Phaahla recently called the travel bans on flights coming from the country by other nations as “unjustified” and “counterproductive”.

Three countries – South Korea, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia - reported cases of Omicron Covid-19 variant on Wednesday.

Here’s a list of all countries that have so far reported Omicron cases:

1. Botswana – 19 cases

2. South Africa – 77 cases

3. Nigeria – Three cases

4. United Kingdom – 22 cases

5. South Korea – Five cases

6. Australia – Seven cases

7. Austria – One case

8. Belgium – One case

9. Brazil – Three cases

10. Czech Republic – One case

11. France – One case

12. Germany – Nine cases

13. Hong Kong – Four cases

14. Israel – Four cases

15. Italy – Nine cases

16. Japan – Two cases

17. Netherlands – 16 cases

18. Norway – Two cases

19. Spain – Two cases

20. Portugal – 13 cases

21. Sweden – Three cases

22. Canada – Six cases

23. Denmark – Four cases

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