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Omicron Reported in 57 Countries, Hospitalizations Set to Rise - WHO


Travellers walk near an electronic flight notice board displaying cancelled flights at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant

GENEVA (Reuters) - The Omicron variant has been reported in 57 nations, with COVID cases rising in southern Africa including Zimbabwe, and the number of patients needing hospitalization is likely to rise as it spreads, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

The WHO, in its weekly epidemiological report, said more data was needed to assess the severity of disease caused by the Omicron variant and whether its mutations may reduce protection from vaccine-derived immunity.

"Even if the severity is equal or potentially even lower than for Delta variant, it is expected that hospitalizations will increase if more people become infected and that there will be a time lag between an increase in the incidence of cases and an increase in the incidence of deaths," it said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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