New Covid variant sparks concern

It is better to act early

Published : 27 Nov 2021 08:36 PM | Updated : 28 Nov 2021 03:24 PM

Bangladesh must remain careful as the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday declared the recently-discovered B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19 to be a variant of concern and renamed it Omicron.

WHO said the new variant which was first detected in southern Africa is more infectious than the dominant, highly transmissible Delta strain. And it has reached Europe with one confirmed case in Belgium after being found in South Africa, Botswana and then in Hong Kong. Therefore, we all have to maintain health guidelines properly to protect ourselves and our families from the claws of the new variant Omicron.

However, the new variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning, WHO said. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs.

We must support the government measures 

to contain the spread of coronavirus 

by following the health guidelines

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It is good to note that Bangladesh has already issued travel ban from six southern African countries. Also, the United States, Brazil, Canada, and Saudi Arabia issued travel ban from southern Africa on Friday. Anxious tourists in Johannesburg rushed to the airport to catch a last flight out as nations across the globe started shutting their doors while many worried the new variant could be more resistant to vaccines.  The classification puts Omicron into the most-troubling category of Covid-19 variants, along with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma. The first known confirmed Omicron infection was from a specimen collected on November 9. 

In recent weeks, infections in South Africa have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection. The number of Omicron cases appeared to be increasing in almost all provinces of South Africa.

Considering the situation, Bangladesh should increase its surveillance immediately. Therefore, we all must avoid crowd, use masks whenever we go outdoors. All citizens have a responsibility to support the government measures to contain the spread of coronavirus by following the health guidelines.