Inside Story

How worrying is the new Omicron coronavirus variant?

The world faces yet another variant ‘of concern’, nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just as the world was starting to show signs of recovery from the pandemic, a new coronavirus variant called Omicron has been identified.

Scientists say it is more infectious than the Delta strain and it is unclear if the vaccines we have now will be effective against it.

And while we still do not know much about it, the global stock market, price of oil and travel industry are already seeing its effects.

Many countries have banned or restricted flights from southern Africa, after South African scientists announced the discovery of the new variant.

So how concerned should we be? And are vaccinations enough to contain it?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra


Helen Rees – Chair of the World Health Organization’s Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory for Africa and member of the South Africa Ministerial Advisory Committee for COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines

Julian Tang – Clinical virologist at the University of Leicester

Azeddine Ibrahimi – Director of MedBiotech, a medical biotechnology laboratory