BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland has not detected Omicron COVID-19 variant cases so far, a health official said on Tuesday.
By Tuesday, Omicron variant cases have been reported in countries and regions including South Africa, Israel, Belgium, Italy, Australia, Canada, and China's Hong Kong, said Xu Wenbo, an official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at a press conference.
According to Qian Zhaohui, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, the Omicron variant spreads very fast based on the latest reported epidemiological data in South Africa.
However, it is still too early to tell whether Omicron will replace Delta as the most widely prevalent variant, Qian noted, adding that people need to pay really close attention to the new strain.
As to whether the efficacy of the current vaccines will be impacted, Xu said it is necessary to conduct further monitoring and research on the new variant's ability to evade the immunity provided by current vaccines.
Some Chinese companies have already launched early-stage planning on vaccines targetting Omicron, according to Xu. Enditem