Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead of COVID-19 response at WHO's Emergency Diseases Unit, said on Friday that the Omicron strain of coronavirus has been identified in 38 countries, but Delta remains the dominant variant of COVID-19, reported Sputnik.
"We have reports of Omicron in 38 countries in all 6 WHO regions and we do see increasing trends in Omicron in South Africa. So there is a suggestion that there is increased transmissibility," Sputnik quoted Van Kerkhove as saying.
Kerkhove also emphasised that the Delta strain of coronavirus still remains dominant.
The WHO doesn't have any indication that Omicron is different from other strains of SARS COVID, she said.
The WHO also warned of a possible increase in detected infections, including the Omicron strain, in the next two weeks.
Studies are underway to evaluate Omicron's transmissibility, severity, reinfection risk, immune escape potential, clinical presentation, response to other available countermeasures etc.
Preliminary evidence suggests higher transmissibility and potential immune escape that could lead to a surge in cases. Regardless of the change in severity, an increase in cases alone may pose overwhelming demand on health care systems and may lead to increased morbidity and mortality, WHO South-East Asia region said in a press release on Friday.