Health warns of other variants of Omicron


Samoa remains vigilant in protecting borders and closely motoring passengers of incoming flights over concerns of other variants of Omicron rapidly spreading overseas that have yet to reach the Country.

The assurance was given by Director General, Leausa Dr Take Naseri during a press conference with the media.

He said other Countries have experienced several waves of the different omicron variants as announced by the World Health Organisation and Samoa needs to protect its borders now more than ever.

The Omicron variant comprises four lineages including B.1.1.529; BA.1; BA.2 and BA.3, according to the WHO.

The WHO says the overall threat posed by Omicron largely depends on four key questions: (i) how transmissible the variant is;

(ii) how well vaccines and prior infection protect against infection, transmission, clinical disease and death;

(iii) how virulent the variant is compared to other variants;

(iv) how populations understand these dynamics, perceive risk and follow control measures, including public health and social measures (PHSM).

Based on the currently available evidence, WHO says the overall risk related to Omicron remains very high.

“Omicron has a significant growth advantage over Delta, leading to rapid spread in the community with higher levels of incidence than previously seen in this pandemic.

“Despite a lower risk of severe disease and death following infection than previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, the very high levels of transmission nevertheless have resulted in significant increases in hospitalization, continue to pose overwhelming demands on health care systems in most countries, and may lead to significant morbidity, particularly in vulnerable populations.”

Leausa reminds the public the Health sector is confident in the ability of the vaccination to protect those who have taken the COVID-19 vaccines.

Also adhere to the health measures in place, such as social distancing, wearing facial mask, washing hands regularly and don’t congregate in large groups.