World Health Organization (WHO) issued a risk assessment on Monday warning its member states that “the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high.”
“Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” reads WHO’s technical brief to its 194 member states.
“Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of COVID-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place. The overall global risk related to the new VOC Omicron is assessed as very high.”
WHO advised its members to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron.
In its technical note, WHO highlighted considerable uncertainties, mainly on transmissibility of the variant and how well vaccines could protect against infection, transmission, clinical disease of different degrees of severity and death.