World Health Organization (WHO) Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier stated at the United Nations briefing meeting that it will take several weeks for researchers to understand the impact of the B.1.1.529 mutation (Omicron).
An independent team of experts from WHO‘s SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Technical Advisory Group discussed the new variant. The new variant was classified by B.1.1.529 as a species of concern and was named Omicron.
According to Reuters, the WHO has so far identified fewer than 100 cases carrying the B.1.1.529 mutation. Stating that the cases were mostly confirmed in South Africa, the WHO pointed out that the new mutation was also detected in Hong Kong, Israel, Botswana, and Belgium.
In the statement made by the Ministry of Health in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, it was reported that the new mutation was detected in 1 person from South Africa in Hong Kong and 1 guest who tested positive a few days later in the same quarantine hotel. The ministry noted that both cases were fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
After the detection of the South African mutation called B.1.1.529, some countries decided to close their borders to some countries in Africa, while the Belgian government announced that the South African mutation was detected for the first time in the country.
Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced in a statement that the new mutation was detected in an unvaccinated person and that the test performed on the person on November 22 was positive.