42 cases of Omicron recorded in Sulaimani, says spokesman

A medical worker tests a driver for coronavirus in Sulaimani city, March 18, 2020. (Esta Media Network photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Forty-two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been recorded in Sulaimani, a spokesman told Esta Media Network.

Spokesman of the General Directorate of Health Saman Sheikh Latif said some of the cases were recorded in the previous days.

“They are stable and in a good condition,” he said.

Earlier, General Director of Health Sabah Hawrami said in a press conference that there was a number of suspected cases of the Omicron variant in Sulaimani and that results would be released in the evening.

On January 6, health minister Saman Barzinji announced the first five cases of the new variant recorded among members of one family who live in Duhok city.

One of the members of the family who returned from abroad was infected with the Omicron variant, he added.

The World Health Organization said last month that Omicron was spreading rapidly in countries with high levels of population immunity, but it was unclear if this was due to the virus’ ability to evade immunity, its inherent increased transmissibility or a combination of both.

Last week, the World Health Organization technical body said current COVID-19 vaccines might need to be reworked to ensure they are effective against Omicron and future variants of the coronavirus.

Some vaccine makers are already developing next-generation vaccines targeting Omicron, the highly contagious variant first detected in southern Africa and Hong Kong.

Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said a redesigned COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant would probably be needed and his company could have one ready to launch by March.

The Kurdish health official said those who have received two doses of coronavirus vaccines had mild symptoms.

On Tuesday, Barzinji said 2,049,565 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been given to people since vaccination began in the Region.

The Kurdistan Region has recorded a total of 391,421 coronavirus infections including 7,171 deaths since the pandemic began, according to official figures released by the health ministry.

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