US President Joe Biden on Tuesday told Americans that the country was “prepared” to fight the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Omicron appears to be more infectious than earlier strains, although early indications suggest that it is not more severe than the Delta variant.
Its spread has led some governments to reimpose restrictions.
“We can see a new storm coming,” WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said.
In Washington, Biden announced a raft of new measures, including shipping 500 million home tests, starting from next month.
“We should all be concerned about Omicron, but not panicked,” he said at the White House in Washington.
“We’re prepared; we know more” than we did last year, he said.
Biden said that his administration would deploy military personnel to hospitals, ship supplies to hard-hit states and establish new testing sites.
Biden said that unvaccinated people were failing to uphold their “patriotic duty.”
“Just the other day, former [US] president [Donald] Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot,” Biden said, calling the gesture “maybe one of the few things he and I agree on.”
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