Fauci: ‘US must be ready to fight Omicron’

The USA is preparing to fight Omicron, the new variant of the Corona virus that emerged in South Africa. Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institutes of Health Center for Infectious Diseases and health adviser to President Joe Biden, said that Americans should be ready to fight Omicron, but said it is too early to say what steps need to be taken and whether a new shutdown will be needed.

Fauci, in a statement to ABC television, drew attention to the fact that the USA should do everything necessary to combat the new variant.

The variant, which first appeared in South Africa, has already been spotted in a number of countries, including European countries.

In an interview with NBC television on Saturday, Fauci said that although no case has been officially announced in the US yet, it is possible that the variant is already present in the country.

Fauci told ABC television that US health officials will continue to be in contact with South African officials regarding the variant.

Epidemic experts have warned that travel restrictions may have been too late to prevent the global spread of Omicron. After its emergence in South Africa, the variant has been spotted in a number of countries including Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong, Australia. A senior Biden administration official said the US will restrict travel from South Africa and its neighbors from Monday.

Canada has announced that it is closing its borders to these countries. Previously, the UK and the European Union had also banned flights from South Africa.

Omicron is the fifth variant added to the list of variants of concern by the World Health Organization. It is not yet known to what extent the variant is resistant to vaccines and treatments.

“This new variant of the Covid-19 virus is very worrying,” said virologist Lawrence Young from the University of Warwick, UK. “This is the most mutated version of the virus ever seen,” he said. He reminded that mutations in expert variants increase their infectiousness and resistance to vaccines.

Many countries, including Turkey, India, Japan, Israel, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, tightened travel restrictions.

World Health Organization (WHO) experts met on Friday to discuss the risks posed by the new variant. WHO is not yet recommending travel restrictions. WHO’s emergency chief Mike Ryan said, “It is important not to react immediately,” and reminded that the organization has not yet recommended travel restrictions. Ryan also commended South African public health agencies for quickly identifying the new variant.

Experts say that preventing the virus from mutating will only be possible with the increase in vaccination rates and the spread of vaccines all over the world.

However, according to human rights and health organizations, in only 7 percent of low-income countries, the public has only received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. On the other hand, many developed countries started to give booster doses to their people after two doses of vaccine.