Omicron COVID-19 Variant Spreads Are Putting the World on High Alert

Hundreds of passengers on two flights from Johannesburg to the Netherlands on Saturday were held on the tarmac for hours after they were informed that they’d been exposed to the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

New York Times Global Health Correspondent Stephanie Nolan, who was on the flight, tweeted that they wouldn’t even let a catering truck bring the group water during the wait.

Passengers were held in the terminal at Schiphol Airport for 18 hours while everyone was tested. Sixty-one out of 600 passengers tested positive for COVID-19.

Paula Zimmerman, a photographer, kept a video journal of the chaos. She tested negative and was later quarantined.

“Everybody’s waiting now to get tested,”Zimmerman spoke in a video that was recorded during the wait. “There’s little social distancing going on as far as far I can see.”

Scientists are testing further to confirm that those who have tested positive for Omicron virus are in fact the new Omicron version. Officials fear this variant will make it less effective to vaccine. The Netherlands has now stopped all travel from South Africa. This is the first time that this variant has been identified. Other countries — including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and several in the European Union — have also enacted travel bans from the country.

This new variant has caused panic around the world and is now believed to be even more contagious. Tuesday’s address by President Joe Biden was a call to vaccination.

“Do not wait! Go get the booster if it’s time for you to do so,” Biden said. “And if you are not vaccinated now, it’s time to get vaccinated and take your children to be vaccinated. “

Dr. Anthony Fauci also warned the nation that the travel bans will not stop the variant from making its way into the United States.

“It likely will come,”He stated. “ It almost certainly will because it’s one of those viruses that when you have a high degree of transmissibility, it’s going to get to you.”

Omicron is a disease that can be caused by bacteria found in the blood. Drug companies have been working on modifying the vaccine, but it could take many months. The World Health Organization announced Monday that there was a global risk of the variant. “very high.”The organization stresses the importance of countries increasing their vaccination rates and testing rates.

“Testing and tracing remains fundamental to managing this pandemic and really understanding what you’re dealing with,”Margaret Harris, spokeswoman. “We’re asking all countries to really look for this variant, to look if people who have got it are ending up in hospital and if people who are fully vaccinated are ending up in hospital.”

 

 

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