Senator Richard Gordon on Monday urged the public to take all the necessary precaution against the threat of a possible transmission of Omicron—a new COVID-19 variant—which the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as a variant of concern.
“We should be really concerned about this new variant because it’s already spreading like wildfire. Let’s continue to wash our hands, keep our distance, get tested regularly and strive to be fully vaccinated,” said Gordon, who is also chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
“This pandemic will now be traveling 500 times faster than the Delta variant. The transmissibility is quicker and it’s more effective than any other previous variant,” he added.
With the government staging a three-day national vaccination drive against COVID-19 on Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, Gordon urged people to get inoculated as soon as possible for added protection.
“Vaccines are scientifically proven to help people resist the ill-effects of the virus by helping the body recognize the pathogen and minimize its potency. Don’t be afraid of the side-effects. It’s like our body updating its anti-virus software,” he added.
Gordon noted that the Omicron variant, scientifically labelled as B.1.1.529 strain, has shown to have many mutations from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, which many feared to be more transmissible and potent than the Delta variant.
South Africa’s discovery of Omicron has alarmed the United States and other countries, including the Philippines, and are now imposing travel restrictions from southern African countries.
The WHO said the discovery of Omicron last Nov. 9 coincided with a sharp rise of coronavirus cases in some South African countries. Later on, in news reports, cases of Omicron have sprung in Belgium, Botswana, Italy, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy and nearby Hong Kong.