Coronavirus will mutate in ways no one can prevent or predict: WHO chief
Geneva, Dec 6 (UNI): Slamming countries for banning direct flights from southern Africa amid Omicron scare, World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said the virus will mutate “in ways no one can prevent or predict” amid vaccine inequality.
Speaking at ‘Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing — From Aspiration To Action’ event, Tedros said, “We have often said as long as vaccine inequity persists, the more opportunity the virus has to spread and mutate in ways no one can prevent or predict. And so, we have Omicron.”
He reiterated his earlier statement that the vaccine inequality and the emergence of Omicron variant has highlighted the necessity for “more widespread, regionally based syringe production, as well as IP reform to share the vital health public goods, technology transfer, sharing of knowhow and training”.
During the virtual interaction, he thanked South Africa and Botswana for rapidly detecting, sequencing and announcing the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant.
“It is deeply disappointing to me that some countries continue to block direct flights from southern Africa due to the Omicron variant,” he added.
Till now, several countries including Australia, Israel, US, and Japan have banned travellers from southern Africa.
According to BBC, Omicron was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24.
The WHO had declared the new virus to be “of concern” and named it Omicron.