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The uncertainty that what the next COVID variant will be, remains a significant cause of concern for us, World Health Organisation (WHO) said adding “we need to plan for different kinds of scenarios." Also pointing out that Omicron is currently dominant worldwide, WHO's Maria Van Kerkhove said it is currently tracking sublineages and sister lineages of the variant - BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12.1.

We have tools that can save lives but we need to use them strategically. Vaccines remain a key to fight the disease, she added.

When it comes to deadly virus, ignorance is not bliss: WHO chief

Meanwhile, on Tuesday WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asserted that dramatic drop in testing for Covid-19 has left the world blind to the virus's continuing rampage and its potentially dangerous mutations.

The number of COVID deaths have also dropped significantly last week. Just over 15 thousand deaths were reported to WHO last week - the lowest weekly total since March 2020.

While this is "a very welcome trend," he warned that the declining numbers could also be a result of significant cuts in testing for the virus."This makes us increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and evolution," Tedros said adding, "When it comes to a deadly virus, ignorance is not bliss."

"This virus won't go away just because countries stop looking for it," Tedros said, pointing out that "it is still spreading, it is still changing, and it is still killing."

Speaking at the press conference hosted by WHO, William Rodriguez, who heads the global diagnostics alliance FIND, pointed out that in the past four months, amid surging Covid cases from the Omicron variant, "testing rates have plummeted by 70 to 90 percent worldwide."

The plunging testing rates came despite the fact that there is now more access to accurate testing than ever before.

"We have an unprecedented ability to know what is happening," Rodriguez pointed out.

"And yet today because testing has been the first casualty of a global decision to let down our guard, we're becoming blind to what is happening with this virus."

(With inputs from agencies)

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