North Korea COVID outbreak is ‘worrying’ for new variants —WHO

May 18, 2022 - 5:19 PM
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A WHO flag is pictured between rounds of the election of the new Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the 70th World Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2017. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

 A senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday that high levels of transmission of the coronavirus among unvaccinated people, such as in North Korea, creates a higher risk of new variants.

“Certainly it’s worrying if countries … are not using the tools that are now available,” said WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan in response to a question about the outbreak in North Korea.

“WHO has repeatedly said that where you have unchecked transmission, there is always a higher risk of new variants emerging,” he said.

—Reporting by Emma Farge, Editing by Miranda Murray