The Omicron Covid variant has now been detected in a number of countries around the world including the UK, Germany, Portugal and Australia. The variant is expected to fuel a surge in Covid cases in South Africa this week – with experts indicating cases could treble by Sunday. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the variant poses a “very high” risk globally and could have a “severe” impact on many nations. Express.co.uk examines the latest data to show where the Omicron variant is present.
In England, five cases had been reported across the nation as of Monday, but an additional six in Scotland were also confirmed.
Two cases were confirmed in London on Monday afternoon – one in Camden, and one in Wandsworth
One of the Omicron cases was reported in Essex and another in Nottingham.
The Essex case of the Covid variant has been linked to a primary school and it has been confirmed the person in question is “well” and now isolating with their family.
The third UK Omicron case was reported as a case of an individual visiting the UK.
The person in question has since left the UK, but visited central London while in the country.
In Scotland, four of the cases are in the Lanarkshire area, while two have been identified in Greater Glasgow and Clyde areas.
Where has the Omicron Covid variant been detected worldwide?
The variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa on November 9 and was designated as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 26.
Preliminary tests suggest the variant has been spreading rapidly in the country, but researchers have yet to ascertain if the variant is more contagious than other strains.
Several countries have now imposed travel bans on southern African nations in recent days over fears of the Omicron variant.
It is expected South Africa will report 10,000 cases per day by the end of this week, according to infectious diseases expert Professor Salim Abdool Karim.
The World Health Organization has warned the Omicron variant poses a “very high” risk globally.
The body said this variant could lead to severe consequences in some regions.
In a technical note, the WHO said: “If another major surge of Covid-19 takes place driven by Omicron, consequences may be severe.”
It added, “to date, no deaths linked to Omicron variant have been reported”.
The WHO said it expected more data within the coming weeks on the new variant – but confirmed previous reports the variant has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, adding there were considerable uncertainties about the effect these could have.
The WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom addressed the new variant and the ongoing pandemic at a news conference in Geneva on Monday.
He insisted vaccine equity “is not charity” but is in “every country’s best interest” as we look to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Adhanom added: “No country can vaccinate its way out of the pandemic.
“The longer vaccine inequity exists, the longer the opportunity this virus has to spread and evolve in ways we cannot predict nor prevent. We’re all in this together.”
He urged WHO member states to commit to vaccinating 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of the year and 70 percent by mid-2022.