WHO says research on transmissibility of Omicron under way

JOHANNESBURG – World Health Organisation (WHO) experts gave an update on Friday on this coronavirus variant that was classified as a variant of concern last week.

WHO COVID-19 technical lead, Dr Maria van Kerkhove, said research was under way to understand the characteristics of this variant.

"We look at transmissibility; is it more transmissible or less compared to other variants of concern that are circulating around the world? We look at severity and disease presentation and we look at impact on counter measures."

Van Kerkhove said at this stage, there was a suggestion of increased transmissibility with Omicron.

"What we need to understand is if it's more or less transmissible compared to Delta. The Delta variant is still dominant worldwide, which is important to keep in mind. So, we have to see how Omicron compares to Delta when they're both circulated in the population at the same time. So, it will take a few more days to get that information."

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