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WHO chief scientist says Omicron very transmissible
Soumya Swaminathan says people should ‘not panic’ as the world is better prepared thanks to vaccines.
The World Health Organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said the new coronavirus variant Omicron is very transmissible but that people should not panic about it.
Swaminathan said during an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Friday that the right response was to be prepared and cautious and not to panic in face of the new variant.
“How worried should we be? We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic, because we’re in a different situation to a year ago,” Swaminathan said.
The emergence of the new variant was unwelcome, she said, but added that the world was much better prepared given the development of vaccines since the start of the pandemic.
The new rules to tackle COVID-19 in the United States include stricter testing of inbound travellers and stepping up booster jabs.
Germany is planning to exclude the unvaccinated from all but essential shops and services and is considering a vaccine mandate from February.
A United Kingdom study has found mRNA vaccines provide the biggest booster effect.
Roche develops new research test kits for Omicron variant