New coronavirus strain named 'Omicron', WHO classify it as "variant of concern"
New Delhi : The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday announced the recently-discovered B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19, first detected in southern Africa, to be a variant of concern.
WHO has also renamed the new strain as 'Omicron'.
Omicron has been kept under the most troubling category of coronavirus variants, along with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
To stop spread of the new variant, many countries have announced flight bans. A dip in stock market and oil prices were reported on Friday amid fears of economic blow.
"Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology... the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern (VOC), named Omicron," the UN health agency said in a statement.
The WHO mentioned that it will take several weeks to fully understand the transmissibility of the new coronavirus variant, its severity or implications for Covid vaccines, tests and treatments.
The new variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on Wednesday.
Apart from South Africa, Omicron has also been reported in Israel in a person coming from Malawi; Botswana; Belgium and Hong Kong.