The World Health Organization is warning the Omicron coronavirus variant poses a “very high” risk to nations and could set off new waves of infections — especially in areas with low vaccination rates. On Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked leaders in southern Africa for sounding the alarm over the new variant and called for a global treaty to prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “South Africa and Botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing and reporting this variant, not penalized. Indeed, Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics. Our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores.”
The World Health Organization has criticized travel bans against southern Africa.