Beijing: China will successfully hold the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on schedule, despite the worldwide spread of the new Omicron coronavirus strain, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday.
"Regarding the impact of the Omicron strain on the Winter Olympics, I think it will definitely bring some prevention and control challenges, but thanks to China's experience in preventing the spread of and combating COVID-19, I am fully confident that the Winter Olympics the games will be successfully held in accordance with the schedule," Sputnik quoted Zhao as saying. The Games are scheduled for February 4-20, 2022.
The WHO, on November 27, named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'.
The World Health Organization has warned the Omicron variant, which has already been confirmed in Europe, Canada, Israel and Hong Kong, maybe more transmissible or evade immunity from previous infections and vaccines.
"Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high," the WHO said in its risk assessment on Monday within a technical brief to its 194 member states.
The WHO urged member states to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand variants, including omicron, and to increase community testing to detect if omicron is circulating.