Covid Omicron variant: Most cases are 'mild' says World Health Organisation official

A WHO spokesperson says there is no evidence so far to suggest efficacy of vaccines has been reduced by Omicron

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A spokesperson for the global health agency has said that most Omicron cases are 'mild' and that preliminary data shows that existing PCR tests have not been greatly impacted by Omicron.

The World Health Organisation official claimed early research suggests the Omicron strain of coronavirus is better at infecting people than Delta and that there is no evidence that the new variant has any impact on vaccine effectiveness against serious illness.

Speaking anonymously, the WHO official said the early indications point towards most Omicron cases being mild, with no severe cases.

The spokesperson claims that there is no signal that existing vaccines will be any less effective at preventing hospitalisations and deaths.

The World Health Organization expects to have more information on the transmissibility of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus within days, its technical lead on COVID-19, Maria van Kerkhove, said in a briefing on Wednesday.

That was faster than the "weeks" the WHO had predicted last week that it would take to assess the data available on the variant after designating it a "variant of concern", its highest rating.

She said one possible scenario was that the new variant, which was first reported in southern Africa, may be more transmissible than the dominant Delta variant.

She said it was not yet known if Omicron makes people more ill.