Further Spread of Omicron May Lead to More Mutations of Virus, Warns WHO
Meanwhile, Britain issued warnings of an impending hospital crisis due to staff shortages caused by infections.
The World Health Organisation on Tuesday, 4 January, said in a statement that the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, although less severe than Delta variant, may lead to further mutations of the virus and could potentially be more dangerous.
In an interview with AFP, WHO’s Senior Emergencies Officer Catherine Smallwood, said, “The more Omicron spreads, the more it transmits and the more it replicates, the more likely it is to throw out a new variant.”
Now, Omicron is lethal, it can cause death ... maybe a little bit less than Delta, but who's to say what the next variant might throw out.Catherine Smallwood, WHO’s Senior Emergencies Officer (as quoted by AFP)
Smallwood’s warning comes on the same day when Britain issued warnings of an impending hospital crisis due to staff shortages caused by a wave of infections.
The country's daily COVID-19 caseload breached 2,00,000 for the first time. Smallwood said that Europe is in a “very dangerous phase” and expects the trend to replicate in other European regions as well.
She added that despite the despite the decreased risk of hospitalisation with Omicron variant, the surge in cases may put additional pressure on the healthcare industry.
Smallwood cautioned people not to assume that the pandemic is on the decline since the sheer number of Omicron cases, although less severe, could have the opposite effect and prove to be more troublesome.
Europe registered over five million new cases in the last week of 2021, "almost dwarfing what we have seen in the past", Smallwood told AFP.
(With inputs from AFP)
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