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WHO chief warns COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere near over Updated: 2022-01-19 17:06:01 KST

The WHO chief is warning the pandemic is far from over, highlighting once again that the Omicron variant cannot be taken lightly.
While the variant seems to cause less serious symptoms, he warned the sheer number of people contracting the virus is putting a significant strain on public healthcare systems.

"Omicron continues to sweep the world. Last week, there were more than 18 million reported cases. The number of deaths remains stable for the moment, but we are concerned about the impact Omicron is having on already exhausted health workers and overburdened health systems. In some countries, cases seem to have peaked which gives hope that the worst of this latest wave is done with, but no country is out of the woods yet."

Some experts have also warned that allowing the virus to spread increases the chance of new variants emerging.
Against such a backdrop, France reported over 464-thousand new cases on Tuesday.
This is the country's highest tally since the onset of the pandemic.
Germany is also grappling with a rapid surge, with the health minister urging the public to stay vigilant.
The German government has decided to change its COVID-19-related regulations, granting shorter immunity status for individuals who have contracted the virus and fully recovered.
Under the new rules, the recovered status expires after three months, shortened from the previous six months.
In Asia, Japan hit a new record of over 32-thousand new cases on Tuesday.
The Japanese government continues to mull over declaring a quasi-state of emergency for Tokyo and three nearby prefectures to try and contain the spread, warning that new infections are spreading at an (quote) "unprecedented rate."
While America's average of new daily cases has dropped slightly, hovering at around 790-thousand, hospitalizations have soared to a new high of over 150-thousand patients.
That's a 54 percent increase from two weeks ago.
Nearly 2-thousand Americans are dying of COVID-19 each day, with the majority of them being unvaccinated.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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