In a fresh warning, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that Omicron variant of the coronavirus is causing hospitalisations and deaths the world over, and the narrative that it is a mild disease is misleading.
Amid an ongoing resurgence across the world, the global coronavirus caseload has topped 333.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 5.55 million and vaccinations to over 9.68 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"Make no mistake, Omicron is causing hospitalisations and deaths, and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities," the WHO chief said late on Tuesday.
"Omicron may be less severe, on average, but the narrative that it is a mild disease is misleading, hurts the overall response and costs more lives," he added.
India on Wednesday reported 2,82,970 fresh Covid cases in the last 24 hours, which is a rise of over 18 per cent from the previous day's count.
According to Tedros, Covid is circulating far too intensely with many still vulnerable.
"For many countries, the next few weeks remain really critical for health systems. I urge everyone to do their best to reduce risk of infection so that you can help take pressure off the system," he emphasised.
Tedros said that we can still significantly reduce the impact of the current wave by sharing and using health tools effectively and implementing public health and social measures that we know work.
"Every variant of the COVID-19 virus, including Omicron, is dangerous and can cause: severe disease, death, further virus mutations and jeopardise the effectiveness of the tools we have to fight it," said the WHO.