"The World Health Organization has urged people to cancel some of their holiday plans to protect public health, as the Omicron variant spreads globally," WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, BBC reports.
"An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled," Ghebreyesus said.
According to the head of the organization, the pandemic may end in 2022, if by the middle of next year 70% of the population of each country will be vaccinated. Also, China, where the Covid-19 outbreak first occurred, needs to provide more information on the origins of the virus to help in future pandemic policies.
As it was reported, British scientists have recently discovered a new B.1.1.529 Covid variant that has 32 mutations in the spike protein. This part of the virus is used by most vaccines to prime the immune system against Covid. The WHO Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) has named the coronavirus strain B.1.1.529 "Omicron". Omicron could replace the Delta strain and become the most dominant one across the world.
The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been detected in 89 countries and is spreading rapidly even in places with high levels of population immunity. Other major questions about Omicron remain unanswered, including how effective each of the existing COVID-19 vaccines might be against it.
Due to the spread of a new strain of the virus, governments are imposing strict quarantine measures. In particular, the Netherlands introduced a lockdown for the Christmas holidays, London canceled the celebration of the New Year in Trafalgar Square, Paris canceled the New Year's salute and show. Many countries have tightened travel rules for tourists.