New Delhi: The new variant of COVID-19 — popularly termed as Omicron, has become a source of great worry and has been declared as the ‘Variant of Concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Omicron variant is said to be more contagious than previous variants and has already been detected in 20 countries so far. The variant is detected in all continents except Antarctica.
Below is the list of countries with the number of Omicron cases discovered so far.

Australia: 6 cases

Austria: 1 case

Belgium: 1 case

Botswana: 19 cases

Brazil: 2

Canada: 3 cases

Czech Republic: 1 case

Denmark: 2 cases

France: 1 case (on Reunion Island)

Germany: 4 cases

Hong Kong: 3 cases

Israel: 2 cases

Italy: 4 cases

Japan: 1 case

Netherlands: 14 cases

Portugal: 13 cases

South Africa: 77 cases

Spain: 1 case

Sweden: 1 case

United Kingdom: 14 cases

COVID-19 vaccines are suspected to not work on the Omicron or B.1.1.529 Sars-Cov-2 variant as it has 50 mutations, 30 of which are present in its spike protein — the area that previous vaccines targeted. It is through the ‘spike’ that the virus-cell enters the host cell. Omicron is also suspected to raise the risk of COVID-19 reinfection as opposed to earlier when people who had previously got infected with the virus had gained resistance to it. However, much is still left to know about the new variant and the research is underway.

Doctors have advised people to strictly follow COVID-19 protocol which includes social distancing, wearing a mask, and avoiding unnecessary travel to protect themselves against the Omicron variant.

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