Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has warned against the rising Omicron cases around the world, saying that the world could be entering the worst part of the pandemic as the variant will result in the "worst surge" the world has seen so far.
In a series of tweets, Bill Gates said he has cancelled most of his holiday plans after his close friends have been infected with the Omicron variant.
"Omicron is spreading faster than any virus in history. It will soon be in every country in the world," he said.
Noting that the "big unknown" is how lethal the variant is, Gates claimed: "Even if it's only half as severe as delta, it will be the worst surge we have seen so far because it's so infectious."
He advised people to take booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it gives the best protection.
"In the meantime, we all have to look out for each other, especially the most vulnerable, whether they live down the street or in another country. That means wearing masks, avoiding big indoor gatherings, and getting vaccinated. Getting a booster gives the best protection," he tweeted.
Bill Gates also claimed that the pandemic wave due to Omicron would last less than three months.
"If there's good news here, it's that omicron moves so quickly that once it becomes dominant in a country, the wave there should last less than 3 months. Those few months could be bad, but I still believe if we take the right steps, the pandemic can be over in 2022," he further said.
Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa in November, has been declared as a "variant of concern" by the WHO.
Speaking at a briefing on Monday, WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there was no evidence that the variant was "spreading significantly faster" than the previous dominant version, Delta.
The World Health Organization has urged people to cancel some of their holiday plans to protect public health, as the Omicron variant spreads globally.
"An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled," said Ghebreyesus, adding that "difficult decisions" must be made.