Global Economy

UNICEF has no plans to evacuate staff from South Africa amid spread of new COVID Strain


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it does not have a plan to evacuate its staff from South Africa amid the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

The new Omicron variant, which has been detected first in South Africa, has escalated tensions across the world as it is considered as more dangerous than the delta variant. It has been declared as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday.

“There are no plans to evacuate staff from South Africa, the country has very good medical facilities,” the UN agency’s Chief of Communication and Partnerships in South Africa Toby Fricker told Sputnik.

Fricker also pointed out that the measures in place for UNICEF and UN staff remain the same.

“Vaccination combined with mask-wearing, social distancing and hand washing, as well as good ventilation when indoors, continue to be the most effective ways to stop COVID spread and prevent severe illness,” Fricker added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.

Following the reports about the new variant, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Israel, Australia and other countries have restricted travel from several southern African nations over the health concerns.



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