The World Health Organisation (WHO) elaborated by stating “people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected more easily with Omicron”, compared to other variants of concern. In response to the new threat, the British Government has introduced restrictive measures. Firstly, secondary school goers from Monday, November 29 will have to wear face masks in communal areas of school grounds, such as corridors.
Secondly, face masks will be mandatory on public transport and shops from Tuesday, 30 November.
Those refusing to follow the rules in shops and on public transport could face fines up to £6,000.
There have been six confirmed cases of Omicron in the UK so far, with cases expected to grow exponentially.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Professor Amitava Banerjee – a consultant cardiologist – said: “We need to try to reduce spread and infection rate.”
The professor added that we “need to see face mask wearing in enclosed spaces”.
While facts on Omicron are still “emerging”, the World Health Organisation confirmed that the virus has “high” transmissibility.
Researchers still need to uncover how “virulent” Omicron is, meaning how ill it can make people.
Professor Banerjee said it would be “great” if this strain was more mild than the Delta variant.
It may take “some days” to find out whether existing vaccines could protect against Omicron as it could for other variants.
The World Health Organisation said: “It is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.
“Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalisation in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron.
“There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants.”
The Covid Symptom Study listed seven of the “most important symptoms we all need to know”.
These are: sneezing, headache, runny nose, loss of smell, sore throat, cough, and fever.
Anybody experiencing such symptoms are urgently required to self isolate and to test for Covid.
As another defence against Omicron, the booster vaccination is going to go ahead for those over the age of 18.
International borders are closing around the world in order to help curb the spread of Omicron.
There will be an emergency G7 meeting today with health ministers to discuss what to do concerning this troublesome new Covid variant.
“At the present time, WHO is coordinating with a large number of researchers around the world to better understand Omicron,” the World Health Organisation added.
“Studies currently underway or underway shortly include assessments of transmissibility, severity of infection (including symptoms), performance of vaccines and diagnostic tests, and effectiveness of treatments.”