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Last week the world learned about Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant. It was first detected in Southern Africa and many countries quickly tightened restrictions on travellers arriving from the region and imposed travel bans. The World Health Organization declared Omicron “a variant of concern” because of the very large number of mutations that could pose a high global risk of infection surges.

The Globe’s Science Correspondent Ivan Semeniuk tells us what is currently known about the new variant and what it could mean about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available.

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