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Amid Omicron Surge, WHO Chief Says COVID 'Tsunami' Will Drive Health Systems Into Collapse

The WHO chief warned that the 'tsunami' of COVID cases owing to the highly transmissible Omicron could bring healthcare systems to the brink of collapse.

COVID

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Predicting a bleak future for global healthcare systems, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concerns over what the 'twin threats' of Omicron and Delta would do to the world. Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the WHO chief warned that the 'tsunami' of COVID cases owing to the highly transmissible Omicron variant could bring healthcare systems to the brink of collapse.

"I am highly concerned that Omicron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference. "This is and will continue to put immense pressure on exhausted health workers, and health systems on the brink of collapse," he said.

Dr Tedros also cautioned that the pressure on healthcare systems would not only be due to rising COVID patients but also large numbers of healthcare workers falling sick after contracting COVID. "The unvaccinated are many times more at risk of dying from either variant," he added.

Omicron takes over the world

The new variant, first discovered in South Africa has already become dominant in Europe. France on December 29, recorded its highest-ever daily spike in cases adding over 200,000 new infections. Italy, Greece, Portugal, as well as the United Kingdom are also recording all-time highs in their COVID tally. In the United States, Omicron accounts for nearly 73% of the cases.

Health officials tracking the spread of the ‘highly mutated’ B.1.1.529 variant across the globe fear India might also witness a spike in cases of both Delta and Omicron variants (Delmicron) just like the countries in the West. The twin threats are leading to a record number of daily infections and hospitalisations across the world in the last few weeks.

India's tally of Omicron cases has reached 781 on Wednesday, with Delhi reporting the highest number of infections with 238 cases followed by 57 recoveries. After the national capital, Maharashtra has 167 Omicron cases. The country reported 9,195 fresh COVID-19 cases and 302 fatalities in the last 24 hours, informed the Health Ministry.

(With agency inputs)

Tags: COVID, Omicron, WHO
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