WHO says will take several weeks to understand new COVID-19 variant

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The World Health Organization said Friday it would take “a few weeks” for researchers to understand the impact of the new C0VID-19 variant B.1.1.529 detected in South Africa.

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“Researchers are working to understand more about the mutations and what they potentially mean for how transmissible or virulent this variant is,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters, as WHO experts began a virtual meeting to determine whether B.1.1.529 should be classified as a variant of interest or of concern.

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But WHO cautioned against imposing new travel restrictions over the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529.

“WHO recommends that countries continued to apply a risk based and a scientific approach when implementing travel measures... implementing travel measures is being cautioned against,” spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva.

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