Omicron Variant Reaches North America as Global Risk Remains ‘Very High’

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The newly identified Omicron coronavirus variant reached North America on Sunday, Canadian officials revealed.

The variant has not yet be found in the United States although the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) called the variant a “very high” global risk.

“We continue to urge the federal government to take the necessary steps to mandate point-of-arrival testing for all travellers irrespective of where they’re coming from to further protect against the spread of this new variant,” Ontario health officials wrote.

The variant has so far revealed itself in Australia, England, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Belgium. Other nations have instituted travel restrictions, including Israel, Thailand, and the United States.

The W.H.O. has called the new strain a “very high” risk to nations due to its “unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic.”

Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the World Health Assembly on Monday the coronavirus is “not done with us.”

“Omicron’s very emergence is another reminder that although many of us might think we’re done with Covid-19, it’s not done with us,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci seemed to agree with the W.H.O., stating Sunday all coronavirus restrictions are “on the table.” Fauci would not rule out future lockdowns or mask-wearing mandates.

“We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you’re already having travel-related cases that they’ve been noted in Israel and Belgium and in other places… it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over,” he said.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø


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