The European Disease Control Agency warned, on Wednesday, that “strict action” must be taken “urgently” to counter the rapid spread of the mutant Omicron, warning that “vaccination alone will not be enough.”
“In the current situation, vaccination alone will not allow us to prevent the effect of the omicron mutant, as there is not enough time to fill the gap in vaccination,” Andrea Amon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said in a video speech.
Return to remote work
The European Union’s health agency also raised its assessment of the risks of the new mutant to public health to “very high”, and recommended a series of measures, including returning to remote work and increasing the level of caution during movements and celebrations on the occasion of the end of the year holidays.
And she considered it “very likely” that the new mutant would lead to hospitalizations and deaths at rates higher than those already expected in previous estimates of the delta mutant, prevailing so far.
The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention renewed its call for the “urgent re-imposition and strengthening” of “non-pharmaceutical” measures against Covid, a term that covers restrictions in general, to ease the burden on the health system.
In the context, the World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that Omicron is spreading at an unprecedented rate and has most likely become rampant in most countries of the world.
Reached 77 countries
The Director-General of the Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a press conference, that “77 countries have so far reported infections with Omicron, but the reality is that Omicron is likely present in most countries even if it has not been detected yet,” noting that “Omicron is spreading at a pace that we have not seen.” Like it before with any other mutant,” according to AFP.
“We are concerned about the fact that people are treating Omicron as benign…Even if Omicron causes less serious disease, the number of cases may once again flood ill-equipped health systems,” Ghebreyesus added.
He also warned the international community that vaccines alone will not allow any country to get out of the crisis, calling for the use of all available anti-Covid methods such as wearing masks, regular ventilation of closed halls, and respecting social distancing. And he said, “Do it all. Do it consistently. Do it well.”
Ghebreyesus indicated that the emergence of Omicron prompted some countries to provide booster doses of anti-Covid vaccines to all their residents, “despite our lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of booster doses against this mutant.”
However, the World Health Organization fears that the booster dose campaigns will contribute to the accumulation of anti-Covid vaccines in rich countries, as has been the case so far, which weakens vaccination in poor countries. “I will be very clear: The World Health Organization is not against boosters. We are against inequality,” he stressed.