The omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to produce fewer severe infections than the delta variant, but it should not be labeled as mild.
The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Incident Manager for the Pacific, Sean Casey, warns Fijians that Omicron should not be taken as a flu-like disease as it can still lead to hospitalizations and strain health systems.
Casey says the coronavirus infection hasn’t yet become the common cold, and a record number of people are contracting Omicron because it’s highly transmissible.
“People can still fall quite ill from this disease, and it transmits easily. We still have unvaccinated people among us, and we are seeing deaths in Fiji despite the high vaccination rates. We need to take this as seriously as we have taken other waves in Fiji and continue the efforts to prevent transmission as much as possible.”
Currently, Fiji has 240 COVID patients in hospital, of which 117 are from the Central Division.
Casey says vulnerable and unvaccinated people are still at risk of becoming severely ill due to the variant.
According to WHO, the current number of cases recorded on a daily basis is an underestimation, and Omicron is becoming the dominant variant.