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The International Monetary Fund is warning that the new Omicron coronavirus variant is likely to delay the global economic recovery from the pandemic. The fund is expecting to downgrade its forecasts for world growth this year and next. That's even though the World Health Organization says it has no evidence yet of any deaths connected to Omicron.
The new variant is spreading rapidly in many countries. South Africa in particular is seeing an alarming wave of infections. More young children are being hospitalized, and authorities are concerned that people who've already had COVID-19 are being reinfected.
Healthcare workers in South Africa have their hands full since scientists there first detected the Omicron variant last week. And it's been found across South Africa.
Just a quarter of the population has been fully vaccinated. But it is not clear yet how far the current vaccines protect against an infection with Omicron.
South Africa's public health authorities warn that more children and young adults are being hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Many countries have placed new restrictions on travelers from South Africa, and even shut borders. And the Scientists who alerted the world to the Omicron variant are facing a backlash at home.
Face masks are mandatory, and there are limits on the number of people who can attend indoor and outdoor gatherings. But Omicron continues its invisible race across South Africa.
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    Francisco Gimeno - BC Analyst Again another twist in the Pandemic history and narrative. Omicron variant has been a reason for politicians to just act on fears and panic, trying to make people more compliant. The science behind it is becoming less and less important, while some narratives strengthen, including the one where only bad things come from Africa (even though it seems the variant was already present globally some weeks before). It's a pity that a global health scare is becoming entangled with politics, economic interests and even conspiracy theories. Hoping for the best, anyway.