Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly across Africa and has already been detected in 22 countries.
“As of Thursday, 22 countries have reported the presence of the Omicron variant. We can see clearly: the Omicron is spreading very quickly,” said John Nkengasong of the AU’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Around a month after South Africa first discovered the more infectious variant, it has now been detected as far as Egypt, Togo, Morocco, Kenya, Mauritius and Burkina Faso.
Nkengasong said there were grounds for optimism, pointing to initial findings from South Africa that Omicron posed up to 80 per cent less risk of severe disease compared to the Delta variant.
However, he cautioned against applying these early findings to other countries.