G7 health ministers have committed to work closely with international partners to tackle the Omicron.

Omicron was detected by scientists in South Africa last week, who say the new variant has at least 10 mutations.
Omicron was detected by scientists in South Africa last week, who say the new variant has at least 10 mutations. (Reuters Archive)

The new Covid variant Omicron is highly transmissible and requires "urgent action," G7 health ministers have said.

"The global community is faced with the threat of a new, at a first evaluation, highly transmissible variant of Covid-19, which requires urgent action," the health ministers from the bloc said in a statement on Monday following an emergency meeting.

The statement praised South Africa's "exemplary work" for both detecting the strain and alerting others to it.

Underlining the "strategic relevance of ensuring access to vaccines", they pledged to hold to their donation commitments as well as to provide support for research and development.

At the same time, they will tackle "vaccine misinformation", something that has in parts of the world led to resistance against inoculation.

A new meeting will be held in December, the ministers said, committing to work closely together with the World Health Organization and international partners to share information on Omicron.

READ MORE: World on alert as highly contagious Omicron variant continues to spread

Growing mutations 

Scientists in South Africa said they had last week detected the new variant with at least 10 mutations.

The Beta variant had three mutations and Delta had two.

The Delta variant hit global recovery and sent millions worldwide back into lockdown after it was first detected in late 2020.

The Omicron discovery has sparked a frenzy of travel restrictions across the world.

A growing list of countries have already imposed travel curbs on southern Africa, including key travel hub Qatar, the United States, Britain, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Netherlands.

READ MORE: Nations close borders to prevent Omicron from spreading

Source: TRTWorld and agencies