Connect with us

COVID 19

Omicron variant – What do we know about it?

Hamdhan Shakeel

Published

on

News of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus has taken the world by storm as countries rush to take preemptive measures to curb the spread of the new variant inside their borders. The latest variant identified as SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529 was named as Omicron by the World health Organization, later declaring it’s as a “Variant of Concern”.

The Omicron variant was first identified on 24th November 2021 in South Africa. But the earliest confirmed case of the virus was from a sample collected on 09th November 2021.

While specimens were collected and sent to the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution to assess its mutations. According to the World Health Organization, the number of infections has steeply increased in the areas where the Omicron variant was identified.

Preliminary studies on the variant suggests that compared to the other Variants of Concern, the Omicron variant has an unusually high number of mutations, leading to an increased chance of reinfection for those who had already contracted the virus and for those who are already immunized.

So far, the variant has been identified due to the PCR tests failure to target and detect one of the three genes. So far, the variant has been identified in Israel, Hongkong, Botswana and Belgium.

While the World Health Organization has maintained that to would take a few weeks to fully understand the full impact of the virus, UK Health Officials have warned that the vaccine would “almost certainly be less effective” against the Omicron variant.

British Professor of Structural biology James Naismith stated that “It’s bad news but it’s not doomsday.”. He further stated that the mutations spotted in the variant suggests more transmissibility, the variant’s ultimate transmissibility would be determined by how ell the mutations work together.

The variant is further expected to spread as only 24% of the South African population is vaccinated against COVID-19.

While medical experts warn preemptive measures, Australia, Brazil, UK, U.S., Iran, India and Japan has taken some form of measures against the spread of the variant through partial border lockdowns or through increased screening at borders.

In the Maldives, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has announced that additional booster shots for the public would be launched in mid-December in wake of the Omicron variant. He also stated that the Technical Advisory Group will be meeting today to decide on what actions to take against the Omicron variant.

COVID 19

England lifts COVID-19 pandemic restriction-Omicron marks end of the pandemic.

MNN

Published

on

By

England has lifted its restrictions implemented in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at a press conference at Downing Street, Health Secretary Sajid Javad stated that the England will be lifting the restrictions implemented in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic but the legal requirement to self-isolate if tested positive for the virus will continue.

While Health Secretary Sajid Javad stated that it was a major milestone, he also stated that “It’s not the end of the road and we shouldn’t see this as the finish line because we cannot eradicate this virus and its future variants. Instead we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we have to live with flu”.

This has also meant that the work-from-home guidance would be ending with the majority of the nation’s workforce reverting to pre-pandemic work schedules. Additionally, students will also be no longer required to wear masks at schools.

Moreover, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also confirmed that the Government plans to end the legal requirement for positive cases to isolate by late March, but may move the date forward.

The U.S. has also hinted that the pandemic may be heading towards an end. Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated that the Omicron variant may mark the end of the pandemic.

Continue Reading

COVID 19

COVID-19: Restriction levels raised to “Red” as new cases surge.

MNN

Published

on

By

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) of Maldives has raised its restriction level from “Orange” to “Red” following the massive new wave of COVID-19.

According to the Health Protection Agency, the restriction status was raised due to the increasing number of new daily positive cases. The Health Ministry’s Quality Assurance Commissioner Thasleema Usmaan stated that the restriction levels were updated to raise public awareness on the raising number of COVID-19 cases.

On 16th January 2022 over 1,209 positive cases were recorded at “Orange” level and on 17th January 2022 the status was changed to “Red” with an additional 1,420 new cases. While the numbers are high, it is still considerably lower than the last time the restrictions levels were raised to “Red”. On the last occasion the levels were raised to “Red”, 2,194 new daily cases were recorded.

According to the statistics by HPA, a total of 105,001 positive cases has been recorded in the Maldives of which 6,456 are active cases. While only 32 of the active cases are receiving treatment at the COVID-19 facilities, 265 people have passed away due to the disease.

Continue Reading

COVID 19

COVID-19 cases surpass 100,000 in the Maldives.

MNN

Published

on

By

The total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the Maldives has surpassed 100,000 according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

This comes just 4 days after the Health Ministry revealed that the current surge in cases was due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and that they expect the new wave to affect the whole nation.

The emergence of the Omicron variant in the Maldives has meant that the number of new daily cases has once again spiked with over 816 new cases recorded yesterday. This is the highest number of new cases recorded within the past 7 months.

Among the 816 new cases, 413 were from the capital city while 249 were from other inhabited islands and 92 were from resort islands. This brings up the active COVID-19 cases in the Maldives to 5,118 of which 25 people are admitted to hospitals and receiving treatment. The Maldives has one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in relation to its population. As of now over 18.4% of the population has been infected with the disease since the pandemic began.

Continue Reading

Trending