The Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attended a press conference on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-2019) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Denis Balibouse | Reuters
The head of the World Health Organization said on Monday that the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus “has a big problem.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adnorm Gebreyesus said at a press conference that the global health agency was warned over the weekend that a new strain of Covid-19 had been discovered in Japan. Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases said on Sunday that it had discovered a new variant of the coronavirus among four travelers from Brazil.
The institute said the variant appears to have the same mutations as other strains found in the UK and South Africa. Health experts say that although these viral mutations are highly contagious, they do not seem to cause people to contract the virus.
The Japan Institute of Infectious Diseases stated that it is difficult to immediately determine the infectivity of the new strain and the effectiveness of the vaccine against it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as the virus spreads, as the apparent spikes change, they will mutate over time. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that it is unclear how widespread the new mutations are.
Tedros said at the WHO headquarters in Geneva: “The more the virus spreads, the greater the chance of making new changes to the virus.” He pointed out that the new variant seems to be more infectious than the previous virus.
Tedros said: “This may lead to a surge in cases and hospitalizations, which is a big problem for medical staff and hospitals that are already close to the tipping point. This is especially true when public health and social measures have collapsed. ”
This is a developing story. Please check the update status after a while.