Blinken hails South Africa for quick, transparent response to emergence of Omicron strain

Washington, Nov 28: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has thanked South Africa for a swift and transparent approach to the emergence of the new, Omicron, variant of the coronavirus, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor. …Secretary Blinken specifically praised South Africa’s scientists for the quick identification of the Omicron variant and South Africa’s government for its transparency in sharing this information, which should serve as a model for the world,” Price said on Saturday.

According to the release, Blinken and Pandor emphasized the importance of continued partnership among the US, the African Union, South Africa, and other African countries to help vaccinate people against COVID-19.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the new South African strain as one of concern, since it may be more transmissible and dangerous. Cases of the new variant have already been confirmed in multiple countries, including Israel, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.

WHO representative in Russia, Melita Vujnovic, said on Saturday that there is no reason to panic over the new Omicron strain, even though it might be more contagious than other coronavirus variants.