Omicron variant prompts emergency G7 health meeting, including Canada – National |

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos attended an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers Monday to discuss the emergence of the highly mutated Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The new variant appeared in South Africa, coinciding with an increase in COVID-19 cases in the region.

The news prompted border closures as well as screening measures in Canada and around the world.

“The overall risk related to Omicron is considered very high for a number of reasons,” the World Health Organization warned.

“There is concerning preliminary evidence on Omicron suggesting, in contrast to previous (variants of concern), both potential immune escape and higher transmissibility that could lead to further surges with severe consequences.”

Read more:
Can Omicron outpace Delta COVID-19 variant? Scientists seek answers

Story continues below advertisement

Two cases of the Omicron variant have been discovered in Ottawa, and public-health workers are doing contact tracing in an attempt to stamp out transmission.

Officials warn more cases are likely to be found within Canada in coming days.

A spokeswoman for Duclos said more information about the virtual G7 meeting will be released later Monday.

Click to play video: 'What we know about the Omicron variant'

What we know about the Omicron variant

What we know about the Omicron variant

The developments come as countries debated a new global convention on pandemic preparedness and response at a special meeting of the World Health Assembly on Monday.

It is only the second time the group has held an emergency summit of this kind.

If member countries agree, the assembly would begin developing what would essentially serve as an international treaty on pandemic readiness.

Story continues below advertisement

“Global health security is too important to be left to chance, or goodwill, or shifting geopolitical currents, or the vested interests of companies and shareholders,” World Health Organization director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the outset of the summit.

“The best way we can address them is with a legally binding agreement between nations: an accord forged from the recognition that we have no future but a common future.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Omicron variant poses “very high” global risk, WHO warns'

COVID-19: Omicron variant poses “very high” global risk, WHO warns

COVID-19: Omicron variant poses “very high” global risk, WHO warns

He said the emergence of the Omicron variant underlines the perilous and precarious nature of the global situation.

“Indeed, Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics. Our current system disincentives countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores,” he said.

The idea is to prevent another global crisis like the one posed by COVID-19 and its new, potentially more transmissible variants.

Story continues below advertisement

“Our position has always been that we are stronger when we work together,” Duclos said Friday in support of a new convention.

Read more:
WHO slams southern Africa travel bans spurred by Omicron variant scare

A binding international agreement would help countries to collaborate and would allow Canada to more easily share its expertise on the world stage, Duclos said.

“That level of policy and scientific leadership is a sign that we can do even better in the future as we collaborate with WHO and other organization in order to prevent the incidents of future pandemics and protect Canadians against such things.”

The WHO working group on the file says governments should look to develop the convention in tandem with efforts to strengthen existing international health regulations.

The working group’s priorities include a focus on global equity, rapid risk detection and assessment, a global approach to misinformation and the sharing of pathogens, genetic information and biological samples.

View link »

© 2021 The Canadian Press

For all the latest Health News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TheDailyCheck is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected] The content will be deleted within 24 hours.