The omicron variant of the coronavirus is “highly communicable” and requires “urgent action”, the G7 health ministers warned on Monday after an emergency meeting called by London.

“The international community faces the threat of a new highly communicable variant of the covid-19, which requires urgent action”, the ministers said in a joint statement after the meeting.

“Ministers praised South Africa’s exemplary work in spotting the variant and alerting others.” They added, while lamenting the restrictions imposed on that nation.

The G7 countries also “recognized the strategic importance of ensuring access to vaccines,” “preparing” countries to receive doses, providing “operational assistance, meeting our donation commitments, addressing misinformation about vaccines, and supporting the research and development ”.

The G7 countries also commit to “continue to work closely with WHO and international partners to share information and monitor omicron.”

“The ministers promised to meet again in December,” they stated.

The new variant is a “very high risk” worldwide, the World Health Organization had warned.

The list of countries in which it was detected is growing, especially in Europe, after the first cases were registered in southern African countries in November.

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