Officials in southern Africa, where the Omicron variant was first identified, have decried restrictions on travelers from the region, saying they are being punished for alerting the world to the mutant strain.Scientists are working furiously to learn more about Omicron, which has been designated a variant of concern because of the number of mutations and because early information suggests it may be more transmissible than other variants, Kasai said.A few countries in Western Pacific region are facing surges that began before Omicron was identified, though Covid-19 cases and deaths in many others have decreased or plateaued, Kasai said.Globally, cases have been increasing for seven consecutive weeks and the number of deaths has started to rise again, too, driven largely by the Delta variant and decreased use of protective measures in other parts of the world, Kasai said
As long as transmission continues, the virus can continue to mutate, as the emergence of Omicron demonstrates, reminding us of the need to stay vigilant,” Kasai said
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