The World Health Organization (WHO) on November 25 announced that it had recorded a worrying new strain, called Omicron (B.1.1.529), detected in a number of southern African countries such as South Africa, Botswana …
According to scientists, the Omicron variant was first discovered in Botswana on November 24, with up to 32 mutations in the spike protein. This is the most mutated variant of nCoV, which is predicted to spread faster, with a higher risk of reinfection than other strains (the Omicron strain can spread 500% faster than the Delta variant).
The image of Omicron on November 27 was published for the first time compared with the Delta strain, showing a huge amount of mutations of the new strain. Its contact area is also larger, indicating higher infectivity than Delta. The mutation number in Omicron is 43, while in Delta it is 18.
Faced with the threat of this mutation, the US and the European Union (EU) from November 29 banned flights from South Africa and surrounding areas. Four Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore tightened travel with southern African countries, requiring quarantine of people entering the country in the past few days.
The UK also banned entry for people from South Africa and five neighboring countries. Similar moves have been made in Australia, Japan, India, Iran, Brazil and Canada.
Israel is expected to ban all foreigners from entering the country from the night of November 28, becoming the first country in the world to completely close its borders to prevent the risk of Omicron mutations from entering.
The Ministry of Health said it continues to closely coordinate with WHO and national focal agencies to implement the International Health Regulations to promptly inform about mutations and take appropriate epidemic prevention measures.