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Omicron is coming; Omicron來了

(added on 2021/12/20)

© 2021 SpatioEpi.com
Data source: GISAID, ECDC and media reports
Map created by CUHK SpatioEpi Group


The COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting the world for almost 2 years. A recently discovered variant B.1.1.529, named Omicron, has drawn the public's attention to its high rate of infection across the globe. It has been designated as a Variant of Concern by the WHO on 26 Nov 2021. As shown on the maps, South Africa has the greatest number of Omicron cases. There're more countries coloured in darker orange on the map in week 3 compared to week 1, meaning that the variant has spread widely while the number of people infected with Omicron has grown rapidly within a month.

While the transmissibility of Omicron and the severity of disease that it causes compared to other variants still remain unclear, it seems that this variant could spread fast in the community. In week 1, most of the infections reported were imported cases. However, in week 3, the number of locally transmitted cases surged sharply. More countries have announced that the variant has been circulating in the local community. In Hong Kong, more than 10 cases of Omicron variant were detected by mid-December. One was a locally transmitted case. The sources of import were South Africa, Nigeria, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Although Omicron may lower the effectiveness of vaccines for protecting people from infection, it is believed that the vaccine is still critically important for reducing severity of symptoms and preventing death. Most effective precaution measure that one could take is to get vaccinated and/or get a booster shot.

Data for map were from GISAID, ECDC and media reports.

新冠肺炎持續至今已經兩年。最近B.1.1.529 變異病毒株(又名 Omicron) 出現,因其快速的傳播能力引起了全球的關注。世界衛生組織於2021年11月26日正式列其為「需要關注病毒株」。地圖上可見,南非的感染人數最多。與 第一周相比,有更多國家在第三周以較深的橙色描繪,表示在短短不到一個月的時間,感染Omicron的人數迅速增加,亦有愈來愈多地方發現Omicron的蹤影。

相對其他變異株,Omicron 的傳染力和其所引致的疾病嚴重程度仍需時間瞭解,但它的確擴散得很快。 在第一周,大部分地方所發現的病例都是輸入個案,到了第三周,各地的本地個案數字急劇增加,更多國家開始宣布 Omicron有社區傳播的跡象。截至12月中,香港已有超過10宗Omicron感染個案, 1 位為本地傳播個案,而輸入個案分別來自南非、尼日利亞、美國和英國 。

即使 Omicron 的出現可能會降低疫苗預防感染冠狀病毒的功效,接種疫苗仍然是減輕病徵和預防死亡的重要一環。而現階段,每個人能做最有效的預防措施便是接種疫苗。

地圖資料源自全球共享流感數據倡議組織 (GISAID),歐洲疾病預防控制中心 (ECDC),新聞報道

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