S.Africa In Contact With WHO, Other Countries Over Omicron, Calls For Funding - Official

S.Africa in Contact With WHO, Other Countries Over Omicron, Calls for Funding - Official

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 28th November, 2021) South Africa is in communication with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other nations about the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus strain, and is in need of more funding, Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief of Operations, Western Cape Department of Health, told Sputnik.

"South African scientists are part of the WHO specialist panel and collaborations with many colleagues from different countries...South Africa is fortunate to have one of the best molecular surveillance programmes worldwide, called NGS-SA. We need to continue current collaborations and want to build further ones, and need funding to keep up our work," Kariem said.

The Head of Division of Medical Virology at the University of Stellenbosch, Prof. Wolfgang Preiser, told Sputnik that the people are advised to continue to take the normal precautions including avoiding close contact, crowded places, confined spaces, maintaining physical distancing, waering masks, wasing hands and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Countries should be extremely vigilant and conduct appropriate genomic sequencing. travel bans are unlikely to achieve much except perhaps delay the spread somewhat," Preiser stressed.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the new South African strain as one of concern, since it may be more transmissible and dangerous. Cases of the new variant have already been confirmed in multiple countries, including Israel, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.

WHO representative in Russia, Melita Vujnovic, said on Saturday that there is no reason to panic over the new Omicron strain, even though it might be more contagious than other coronavirus variants.