The Omicron variant of Covid-19 adds fresh aspects of uncertainty to the outlook on the global economy, Moody’s Analytics has said. Much, however, depends on transmission speed, virulence, hospitalisation and death, as also the effectiveness of vaccines, it added.
The variant appears to spread remarkably quickly, but will be at least two more weeks before more will be known about it, according to reports based on Moody’s Analytics’ commentary titled ‘Much to Learn About OmicronFast’.
Omicron was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa a few days ago.
Since then, 12 more countries have been identified including Hong Kong, Israel, UK, Germany and Australia.
WHO has designated Omcron as a variant of concern’.
At least two cases of Omicron have already been detected in Hong Kong and Australia, and for the Asia-Pacific region there are specific factors to follow in the coming days, it said
Many Asian countries have vaccinated less than 65 per cent of their populations only, it noted.
The new variant will mean for travel across the land border between Hong Kong and mainland China remains uncertain, Moody’s Analytics said.
“The new Omicron variant illustrates the existing risk to the global economy from regions or individual countries that have low vaccination rates. This includes all of sub-Saharan Africa, where rates remain below 50 per cent, and 60 countries globally with rates below 20 per cent,” it said.
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