Omicron Variant Poses Challenges to Global COVID Containment

【Dahai Zhao, a doctoral supervisor at SJTU School of International and Public Affairs, the Executive Director of YALE-SJTU Joint Research Center for Health Policy, has been interviewed by CGYN for the 66th time (112 times by CGTN / Shanghai TV altogether) since the COVID-19 pandemic. When interviewed by CHEN Tong, a journalist of CGTN Shanghai, ZHAO commented on the Omicron variant and its corresponding prevention and control strategies on “The World Today”.】

CHEN:WHO has has just named the new Coronavirus detected in South Africa Omicron, so based on our current knowledge about it, how powerful is this so-called Omicron variant?

ZHAO:Considering Omicron variant is a brand new variant, we have not known the details of this variant, however the current evidence has shown that this variant has much faster spread speed than the previous variant. This variant is much more dangerous because this variant has much more mutations than the prior viruses, therefore, this variant which is powerful needs to be paid for attention by the government and the public in all countries.

CHEN:At current moment, we do have some drugs to tackle the Coronavirus, but with the new variant being detected in South Africa, do you think that will mean we have to start over again?

ZHAO:If the drug which is effective in treating the original Cronavirus and other Cronavirus variant, if this treatment works with the Omicron variant, of course it is not necessary for us to start all over again, so we have to wait for the outcome of the clinical and lab tests on this effectiveness against the Omicron variant.

CHEN:China is now taking pressure from the Delta variant with the new Omicron variant, do you think that will put more pressure on China?

ZHAO:First of all, the appearance of the Omicron variant and has fully shown that the China’s combating Covid-19 strategy that is the zero clearing strategy is scientific and right. The appearance of Omicron variant will not influence dramatically China’s strategy, we will continue to keep the zero clearance strategy.