Omicron variant: WHO appeals to Nepal to scale up surveillance

WHO has also urged the countries in the South-East Asia to strengthen public health and social measures, and enhance vaccination coverage.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: In view of the surge in Covid-19 cases elsewhere globally and detection of a new variant of concern Omicron, the World Health Organization has appealed to countries in South-East Asia including Nepal to scale up surveillance.

WHO has also urged the countries in the region to strengthen public health and social measures, and enhance vaccination coverage.

“Though Covid-19 cases have been declining in most countries of our Region, the surge in cases elsewhere in the world and confirmation of a new Variant of Concern, is a reminder of the persisting risk and the need for us to continue to do our best to protect against the virus and prevent its spread. At no cost should we let our guards down,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region.

Countries must enhance surveillance and sequencing. They should assess the risk of importation through international travel based on updated information on circulating variants and response capacities, and take measures accordingly, reads the statement.

“Comprehensive and tailored public health and social measures to prevent transmission must continue. The earlier the protective measures are implemented, the less restrictive they would need to be in order to be effective. The more Covid-19 circulates, the more opportunities the virus will have to change and mutate, and the pandemic will last longer,” the Regional Director said.

In the wake of a new Covid-19 variant reported lately in South Africa, the Ministry of Health and Population has urged people to remain cautious and follow the health protocols. The variant classified as B 1.1.529 could spread to Nepal as well. So people visiting Nepal through South Africa should compulsorily stay in a week-long quarantine facility, said the Ministry.

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