Omicron outbreak: 23 countries including Canada, USA have detected cases of new COVID-19 variant

It is feared that most COVID-19 vaccines could be ineffective on the new Omicron variant.

Omicron outbreak: 23 countries including Canada, USA have detected cases of new COVID-19 variant

New Delhi: The new variant of COVID-19 - popularly termed as Omicron, has become a source of great worry and has been declared as the ‘Variant of Concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Omicron variant is said to be more contagious than previous variants and has already been detected in 20 countries so far. The variant is detected in all continents except Antarctica.
Below is the list of countries with the number of Omicron cases discovered so far.

1. Australia: 7 cases

2. Austria: 1 case

3. Belgium: 1 case

4. Botswana: 19 cases

5. Brazil: 2

6. Canada: 3 cases

7. Czech Republic: 1 case

8. Denmark: 2 cases

9. France: 1 case (on Reunion Island)

10. Germany: 9 cases

11. Hong Kong: 4 cases

12. Israel: 4 cases

13. Italy: 9 cases

14. Japan: 2 case

15. Netherlands: 14 cases

16. Norway: 2 cases

17. Nigeria: 3 cases

18. Portugal: 13 cases

19. South Africa: 77 cases

20. South Korea: 5 cases

21. Spain: 2 case

22. Sweden: 3 case

23. United Kingdom: 22 cases

Available COVID-19 vaccines are suspected to not provide a proper barrier against the Omicron or B.1.1.529 Sars-Cov-2 variant as it has 50 mutations, 30 of which are present in its spike protein - the area that previous vaccines targeted. It is through the ‘spike’ that the virus-cell enters the host cell. Omicron is also suspected to raise the risk of COVID-19 reinfection as opposed to earlier when people who had previously got infected with the virus had gained resistance to it. However, much is still left to know about the new variant and the research is underway.

Doctors have advised people to strictly follow COVID-19 protocol which includes social distancing, wearing a mask, and avoiding unnecessary travel to protect themselves against the Omicron variant.

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