WHO: Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus is far less dangerous compared to previous variants, but unvaccinated are still at high risk

The highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus causes milder forms of covid-19 from delta, but remains a dangerous virus, especially for the unvaccinated, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Gebrejesus said today.

Speaking at a news conference, Gebrejesus said 90 more countries had yet to reach the target of 40 percent vaccinated and 80 percent of people in Africa receiving the first dose.

“We must not allow the virus to move freely or wave a white flag, especially when so many people in the world are not vaccinated,” he said.

In its regular weekly epidemiological report, the WHO said the number of cases had risen by 50 per cent, or 15 million, in the week to January 9 compared to the previous week, the most in a week so far.

“The omicron variant, which is rapidly taking the place of the delta in many countries, is responsible for such a big jump,” Gebrejesus warned. He added that most hospitalized people are unvaccinated and that, if the transmission of the disease is not curbed, there is an increased risk of a new variant that could be more contagious and fatal than omicron.

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