The severity of the threat posed by Omicron variant is still unknown. Scientists in South Africa hope to complete a study into its virulence by Tuesday.
The World Health Organisation said on Friday the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has now been detected in 38 countries around the world.
WHO Technical Lead for Covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said during a social media question-and-answer session that the rise to dominance of Omicron in South Africa suggests it has “increased transmissibility”.
She added initial cases came from a “cluster of university students” who were presenting mild symptoms, but added that they “tend to be younger individuals and those individuals tend to present with more mild infection”.
Persecondnews.com reports that Omicron– also known as B.1.1.529 – is a coronavirus strain with an unusually large number of mutations. It was first detected in South Africa last week, but has since been found in samples from several days earlier in Nigeria and the Netherlands.