The new Omicron variant, what you need to know

A new variant of the Covid-19 emerged last week from South Africa and poses a possible global threat.

Last week Kenya announced it will not ban flights to and from nations where Omicron has been reported.

The government has promised to step up its surveillance in airports and other entry points by conducting intensive screening to contain the virus.

On November 26. new variant B.1.1.529 was labelled a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation .

The omicron variant was first detected in South Africa, where it has become the dominant strain of the virus.

It is yet to be determined where the virus originated from.

“It is not yet clear whether omicron is more transmissible compared to other variants, including delta,” the WHO says.

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The South African scientists have noted that the variant has a high number of mutations.

Studies are being conducted to see if the Omicron is spreading fast in South Africa due to increased contagiousness or other factors.

WHO noted that it is coordinating with researchers around the world to better understand Omicron.

No cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in Kenya.

However, the Ministry of Health has encouraged  Kenyans to turn up at health facilities for vaccination as well as observe the Covid-19 protocols.

With most cases being travel-related, multiple nations have announced either travel restrictions for non-citizens or outright travel bans.

“The government is keen on ensuring that other economic activities are not affected .

That is why we are not supporting severe containment measures being reintroduced,” Mochache said last week.

“Until more is known on this variant, let’s observe the normal Covid-19 protections,” she said.

The variant has however been detected in over a dozen countries already including






The Czech Republic.



Hong Kong.



The Netherlands.



South Africa.

The United Kingdom.