The World Health Organization has warned that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high”.
The United Nations health agency said that the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”
No Omicron-linked deaths had yet been reported, though further research was needed to assess its potential to resist vaccines and immunity induced by previous infections, it added.
Anticipating increased case numbers as the variant, first reported last week, spreads, the WHO urged its 194 member states to accelerate vaccination of high-priority groups.
“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,” it added.
“The overall global risk … is assessed as very high.”