President Dr Irfaan Ali, in a message to the nation today, urged citizens to get vaccinated as the surest way to protect themselves against the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron.
“Our only tool to be ahead of all these variants and all the changes and mutations we are seeing is vaccination,” President Ali posited.
The Head of State admitted that there is not much data available about the new variant but he emphasised that vaccination is the best way to prevent further infections, hospitalisations and deaths.
“If it is that this variant is far more infectious, then the only thing that can protect us is vaccination, the only thing that would slow hospitalisation is vaccination, the only thing that would slow death rate very successfully is vaccination,” he posited.
Moreover, he encouraged all those who are qualified for a booster shot, to ensure they get their jabs.
The rise of a new variant of concern, now called Omicron, has raised concerns among countries with its link to high infections. However, Guyana has already said it is awaiting more information before changes are made to its travel guidelines.
The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO)by South Africa on November 24. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterised by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant.
In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of Omicron and the first known confirmed infection was from a specimen collected on November 9. The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) will continue to evaluate this variant.
Several countries have taken a step to impose travel restrictions, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Countries such as Italy, Israel, Germany, Botswana and China have already reported cases.