A health worker performs a COVID-19 coronavirus screening – a nasal swab – of a woman at a round-the-clock testing facility in Chennai on January 06, 2022. [Arun Sankar/AFP]
By KATE MAYBERRY, ZAHEENA RASHEED and FEDERICA MARSI | AL JAZEERA

■ Governments across the world are tightening restrictions as the Omicron variant continues to drive up COVID-19 cases globally ■

(AL JAZEERA) — The more infectious Omicron coronavirus variant appears to produce less severe disease than the globally dominant Delta strain, but it should not be categorised as “mild”, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Speaking at a media briefing, director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also repeated his call for greater global equity in the distribution of and access to coronavirus vaccines.

He warned that based on the current rate of vaccine rollout, 109 countries will miss the WHO’s target for 70 Percent of the world’s population to be fully vaccinated by July. That aim is seen as helping end the acute phase of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, governments across the world are tightening restrictions as the Omicron variant continues to drive up COVID-19 cases globally.

Election rallies have been cancelled in India as its megacities experience a surge in cases.

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus is at its highest in Britain since February last year, new figures show, amid increasing pressure on health services.