WHO Classifies New COVID-19 Variant Of South Africa As ‘Variant Of Concern’

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On the 27th of November, Saturday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the new variant of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) named B.1.1.529 (Omicorn) as ‘Variant of Concern.’

The new variant found in South Africa, on the 26th of November, Friday, is now classified to be dangerous globally.

The decision was taken based on the recommendations made during the Technical Advisory Group meeting, held on Friday. The Global Health Body released a statement regarding the same, “Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a Variant of Concern and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron.”

What is the new detected variant virus and whom does it affect?

The new variant of COVID-19, B.1.1.529 is mainly affecting people under 25 years of age group. Professor Anne von Gottberg from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said the variant had been detected in about 100 genomes so far. The concerned health expert also termed the new variant to be extremely dangerous, even after being vaccinated against the virus. The surveillance and research on the samples of the new variant is being carried out at laboratories.

In South Africa, a total of 22 positive cases of the new variant have been recorded. Confirmed cases are increasing quickly, particularly in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo.

Meanwhile, countries like the United Kingdom (U.K.,) German, Singapore, Japan and Israel banned flight services from South Africa. In addition, the WHO has asked the countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants and submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database for COVID-19.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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