Johannesburg, Dec 2 (EFE).- South Africa and neighboring Botswana account for 62% of the Omicron coronavirus cases reported globally so far, he World Health Organization reported Thursday.
So far, South Africa and Botswana have registered 172 and 92 infections of the new variant respectively, as the African countries are “stepping up measures to detect and control” Omicron, the WHO’s regional office for Africa said in a statement.
The Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa a week ago, has been found in at least 20 countries, including the African countries of Nigeria and Ghana, according to the WHO.
“The detection and timely reporting of the new variant by Botswana and South Africa has bought the world time,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said.
“We have a window of opportunity but must act quickly and ramp up detection and prevention measures. Countries must adjust their Covid-19 response and stop a surge in cases from sweeping across Africa and possibly overwhelming already-stretched health facilities,” he added.
The United Nations agency said that Omicron has a high number of mutations, as well as a higher risk of reinfection, compared with other variants.
Researchers and scientists are currently working to know more about the new variant and the effectiveness of the available vaccines on it.
They also are trying to find out whether the Omicron variant is behind the rapidly increasing number of Covid-19 infections in the whole African continent last week.EFE