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WHO says not clear weather Omicron more transmissible, causes more severe disease******
A man wearing a face mask walks past a bus in London, Britain, on November 24, 2021.。
It is not yet clear whether the Omicron COVID-19 variant is more transmissible, or causes more severe disease compared to other variants including Delta, the World Health Organization said on Sunday.。
WHO said it's not yet clear whether Omicron is more easily spread from person to person compared to other variants, even though the number of people testing positive has risen in South Africa where this variant was involved.。
It's also not yet clear whether Omicron causes more severe disease, but preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, which however may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected.。
WHO confirmed that there is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants, as understanding the level of severity of the Omicron variant will take days to several weeks.。
People walk on a commercial street in Cape Town, South Africa on November 28, 2021.。
All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is currently dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death, in particular for the most vulnerable people, and thus prevention is always key.。
However, WHO said preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron, but information is limited. More information on this will become available in the coming days and weeks.。
It added that current PCR tests continue to detect Omicron, while further studies are still going on to understand how the Omicron variant will impact on available vaccines and treatments to COVID-19.。
WHO classified on Friday the latest variant B.1.1.529 of SARS-CoV-2 virus, now with the name Omicron, as a "Variant of Concern" (VOC).。
According to WHO's definition, a VOC, with a degree of global public health significance, demonstrates one or more of mutational changes, such as increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation, and decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics.。
WHO has since called on countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing on circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, submit complete genome sequences and metadata to a publicly available database, and report initial VOC cases or clusters to WHO.。
It has also recommended field investigations and laboratory assessments to better understand potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, the effectiveness of public health and social measures and antibody neutralization.。
华商报记者 马虎振 文/图
4月19日，2019西安国际时尚周期间，世界知名华裔设计大师Prof.Jimmy Choo OBE携手马来西亚高定品牌THE ATELIER（艺室）隆重亮相西安大雁塔，上演顶尖时尚与世界文化遗产的隔空对话。
THE ATELIER（艺室）以“时空穿越”为主题，结合对西安千年历史文化底蕴的解读，在大雁塔下展现一场Chrono Cross × 西安高定礼服秀，为时尚界带来全新视觉盛宴。
Former US Secretary of State dies from COVID******
In this file photo taken on December 4, 2018, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell pays his respects as the remains of former US President George H. W. Bush lie in state at the US Capitol rotunda in Washington, DC.
Colin Powell, the first black secretary of state who saw his trailblazing legacy tarnished when he made the case for war in Iraq in 2003, died on Monday from complications from COVID-19.
The 84-year-old retired four-star general was fully vaccinated, his family said in a statement, making him one of the most high-profile US public figures to die of a breakthrough infection.
President Joe Biden led an outpouring of tributes from home and abroad, describing the officer-turned-statesman, who had battled cancer and was reportedly immunocompromised, as a breaker of racial barriers who believed in "the promise of America."
"Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat," said Biden, who ordered flags flown at half-staff at federal government properties.
"He was committed to our nation's strength and security above all."
After engineering military victory in the 1991 Gulf War, Powell was so widely popular and respected that he was considered a strong candidate to become the first black US president.
He ultimately decided against running for the White House, although he later broke with his Republican Party to endorse Barack Obama.
A son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell frequently shattered glass ceilings in a career that took him from combat in Vietnam to becoming America's first black national security adviser under Ronald Reagan.
He was also the youngest and first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush.
Serving four presidents, Powell made his reputation as a man of honor distant from the political fray – an asset in the corridors of power.
There were glowing tributes from all living ex-presidents except Donald Trump – the pair had a public falling out – with Barack Obama calling Powell "an exemplary patriot."
George W. Bush, who made Powell the highest-ranking black US public official ever when he chose him as secretary of state in 2000, mourned a "family man and a friend."
'Man of ideas'
Powell had a reputation for bipartisanship, straight talk and integrity, and was praised for his officer's instincts of duty and honor.
Israeli former leader Benjamin Netanyahu led the international tributes alongside British current and ex-prime ministers Boris Johnson and Tony Blair, noting Powell's leadership example and dedication to public service.
US Cabinet secretaries paying their respect included Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said Powell was among the "greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed," and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who recalled how his predecessor had modernized the agency.
"He was a man of ideas but he wasn't ideological. He was constantly listening, learning, adapting. He could admit mistakes," Blinken said.
There were very few glaring missteps in public life, but Powell found it hard to live down his infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – evidence which was later proven to be false.
"It's a blot... and will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now," Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.
The statesman's reputation never fully recovered, and ordinary Iraqis interviewed by AFP reacted indifferently or bitterly to the news of his death.
"His failed policy led to the destruction of Iraq and all the destruction that befell Iraq, and we went back to the past because of it, unfortunately," Amin Ahmed, 53, told AFP in Baghdad.