27 January 2022

Aid organisation keeping eye on new variant

Electron microscope image of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. Image: CC licence 4.0

By Chris Shearer

30 November 2021

IT REMAINS too early to tell if the Omicron COVID-19 variant will hit Anglican Overseas Aid’s project partners, but the organisation is monitoring the situation.

AOA’s Church and Community Engagement coordinator Nils von Kalm said their International Programs Manager had told him on 29 November that there was no news on the variant so far from their projects in Mozambique, Kenya or Ethiopia.

“We haven’t had any feedback or reports from any of our projects about Omicron [but] we are in touch with our projects at least weekly,” he said.

The Omicron variant was first detected in southern Africa and was designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation on 26 November.

There are fears that it could be more transmissible than the Delta variant and potentially resistant to current COVID-19 vaccines, although this will take several weeks to determine.

At least 70 nations have closed their borders to visitors from southern Africa, and global markets have taken a hit in response to the variant’s spread.

At the time of writing 19 countries, including Australia, have reported cases of the Omicron variant, although there have only been 150 cases reported worldwide, according to a CNN tally.

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