The new variant of the coronavirus was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on November 24. It was declared a new variant “of concern” and named it Omicron, reports the BBC.

On Friday, this variant was identified as the B.1.1.529 infection which was collected from a specimen on November 9. The cases in the majority of the provinces of South Africa were found to be increasing drastically. Only 24 per cent of the population of South Africa received the vaccination. The situation in the southern Africa region is alarming as the new variant, Omicron also emerged in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel.
“This variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage,” the WHO said in a statement.

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Several countries banned or restricted travel to and from southern Africa including Australia, Japan, India, Iran, and Brazil. United Kingdom (UK) also restricted travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini unless they are UK or Irish nationals.

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Experts also claimed that it is too early to confirm the impact of the variant on vaccinated people and the rate of transmission.

United States of America (USA) Infectious Disease Chief Dr Anthony Fauci said, “Until it’s properly tested. We don’t know whether or not it evades the antibodies that protect you against the virus.”