“Delta and Omicrom are now twin threats driving up cases to record numbers, leading to spikes in hospitalisation and deaths,” World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing on Wednesday.
“I am highly concerned that Omicron, being highly transmissible and spreading at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases.” said Tedros.
Related: Vietnam confirms first case of Omicron variant of coronavirus
WHO’s director-general repeated his call for countries to share vaccines more equitably and warned that the emphasis on boosters in richer countries could leave poorer nations short of jabs.
He said the WHO was campaigning for every country to hit a target of 70% vaccine coverage by the middle of 2022, which would help end the acute phase of the pandemic.
New Year’s Eve will mark the second anniversary of China alerting the WHO to 27 cases of “viral pneumonia” of unknown origin in the city of Wuhan.
More than 281 million people have since been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and more than 5 million have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Also read: Is Omicron variant the beginning of the end for Covid-19 pandemic?
In Vietnam, an additional 13,889 Covid-19 infections were confirmed on Wednesday, most of the new cases were detected in Hanoi, at 1,766.
With these new infection cases, the number of Covid-19 patients in Vietnam has increased to 1,694,874. The country now stands 31st among 223 countries and territories worldwide in the number of infections.
Vietnam confirmed its first Omicron case on December 28, a person arriving in Hanoi from the U.K. on December 19.
On December 28, Vietnam administered 811,888 doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The country has so far conducted over 148.19 million Covid-19 vaccine shots, with over 67.32 million people having received two doses.