World Health Organization officials said that border closures adopted by some countries could save time in the face of the omicron variant of the Corona virus, but the measures implemented and the experience with the delta should remain the basis of the fight against the epidemic. He said..in the western Pacific.
Although a few countries in the region are experiencing surges, COVID-19 cases and deaths in many others have decreased and stabilized, WHO Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai told reporters at a virtual press conference since Manila, the Philippines.
Border control can delay the arrival of the virus and buy time. But all countries and all societies must prepare for further increases in cases,” Kasai said. “The positive news in all of this is that none of the information we currently have on omicron suggests that we should change the direction of our response.”
Currently, several aspects of the new variant are unknown, including whether it is more contagious – as some health authorities suspect – whether it causes patients to develop more severe symptoms or whether it can be stopped with a vaccine.
According to Kasai, omicron has been classified as a variant of concern because of the number of mutations in it and because early data suggest that it may be more infectious than others. He added that more testing and monitoring is needed.
So far, four countries and regions in the western Pacific – Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea – have reported cases of the new type, said WHO Regional Emergency Director Dr Babatunde Olukuri, adding that it is expected. Let this number rise as more cases are detected around the world.
Singapore and Malaysia also confirmed their first cases in the past 24 hours, as did India, which does not fall within the delineation of the World Health Organization.
In the Philippines, the director of the government’s epidemiological office, Althea de Guzman, said on Friday that one of the 71 people identified by authorities after arriving in the country from South Africa in the past two weeks had tested positive for the coronavirus, but continued to run tests to determine if you had contracted the virus. with omicron.
The emergence of the new format is of particular concern to the organizers of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which will begin in a few weeks.
Beijing adopts “a comprehensive series of prevention and control measures to reduce the risk of imported outbreaks spreading, effectively protect the health of all participants and residents in host cities, and ensure that competition runs smoothly. Safely and smoothly. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Weidong said.”
China has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for the transmission of COVID-19 and has some of the strictest border controls in the world. Game participants will have to live and compete inside a bubble and only viewers who are in China with a full vaccination schedule and pass virus tests will be allowed.
Beijing’s measures seem appropriate at the moment.
Regarding what other nations should do, Olukuri noted that the experience of recent years, particularly in responding to deltas, “serves as a guide for what we should do, as well as how to deal with surges in the future in a more sustainable way.”
This assumes full vaccination coverage, social distancing and mask use, among other measures. The goal, he said, was “to ensure that the right patients are treated in the right place and at the right time, in order to ensure that beds are available in intensive care units, especially for those who need them.”
He said infections around the world had been rising for weeks and the number of deaths had started to increase as well, driven mainly by shifting deltas and less use of protective measures in other parts of the world.
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